Today’s cricket post reminded me of the only other time in recent memory that I’d been enticed to read the Guardian’s sports pages. I’d parked the item in my draft posts over a year ago and then forgotten about it. Again, it was Frank Keating’s literary allusions that drew my eye to the page, along with the First World War reference. His Anthem for rugby’s doomed youth mourns both the death last year of the poet Mick Imlah and the rugby internationals from the British Isles who were among the millions slaughtered during the war. He quotes Imlah’s ’15-line sonnet London Scottish 1914, a panegyric to the three-score brothers in arms who volunteered to swap their Richmond turf for Belgian ditches – for three-quarters of them to die’:
Of that ill-balanced and fatigued fifteen
The ass selectors favoured to survive,
Just one, Brodie the prop, resumed his post.
The others sometimes drank to ‘The Forty-Five’:
Neither a humorous nor an idle toast.
The full text of poem can be found here. The claim that this fifteen-line poem is a sonnet provoked a challenge from Chris Warren – are there any other examples of this special kind of ‘sonnet’?