November’s disinvigorating light
leaks thinly through the bloodless sky above;
it casts its feeble glow upon a grim
unwilling young boy’s face. The battle’s nigh.
Today, a boy will be kicked in the head.
Aggression, tamed and caged through childhood’s progress,
will be released, awoken by the vile,
demented exhortations of the teachers
who coach this bloody code of violent conduct.
And soon, a boy will be kicked in the head.
Companions, friends-like-brothers, thrown together
by accident or fate, will face each other
in angry combat, fighting for the chance
to take possession of a ball, and charge.
Shortly, a boy will be kicked in the head.
A whistle blows. A ball is kicked. It starts.
Amidst the rush of nervous limbs, the ball
is fumbled by embarrassed hands and falls
upon the ground. Attack and ruck. Retrieve
the ball and form a maul and push towards
the twenty-two without success. Collapse.
And see? A boy is lying on the ground.
And now this boy will be kicked in the head,
the helpless victim of an unseen… boot.
Imagine being ten, at boarding school,
and lying helpless on the ground, surrounded
by angry boots belonging to a mob
of boys who’ve all been taught to “take his legs,”
to “bring him down,” and “get stuck in like men.”
It isn’t in the laws, this booting of
the skull, but what should we expect?