The Sweet Science

Issue ThirteenIssue Thirteen PoetryPoetry

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By David Atkinson

Who’ll go a round or two for a pound or two?

—  Jimmy Sharman


The town’s tough, unlimited confidence

dominates sectarian skirmishes

in the park. Bluff and bravado


to volunteer for the boxing ring

at the agricultural show.

The bass drum, a sonorous rhythm


from the platform. The mob mills inside,

clambers onto the tiered

wooden benches.


The next Lionel Rose appears,

never speaks. He’ll use

the language of his fists.


Circling, dance of the cockerels;

rugged redolence of sweat and liniment.

The crowd yells for blood.


The practised pro defends,

then finishes the fight

with sufficient aggression,


a single blow, thud to the solar plexus.

Bout follows bout, primordial demonstration.

We do not see a knockout.


The cry of “Who’ll take a glove?”

Enigmatic smile, promoter apprehends

what is needed: the sweet science

of entertainment.