Allan Ahlberg

Image by Martin Salter

Talk Us Through it, Charlotte

Allan Ahlberg

Talk Us Through it, Charlotte

Allan Ahlberg

Poem introduction

'Talk Us Through it, Charlotte' - one little thing I'd like to explain about this poem is that, for some reason, I have imagined Charlotte to be a Black Country girl. The Black Country is the part of England that I grew up in, a heavy, industrial area with its own voice, its own accent. So Charlotte has that voice and I shall try and use it when I read.

Talk Us Through it, Charlotte

Talk Us Through It, Charlotte

Well I shouldn't've been playin' really
Only there to watch me brother.
My friend fancies his friend, y'know.
Anyway they was a man short.

Stay out on the wing, they said
Give 'em something to think about.
So I did that for about an hour;
Never passed to me or anything.

The ball kind of rebounded to me.
I thought, I'll have a little run with it.
I mean, they wasn't passin' it to me
Was they? So off I went.

I ran past this first boy
He sort of fell over.
It was a bit slippery on that grass
I will say that for him.

Two more of 'em come at me
Only they sort of tackled each other
Collided - arh. I kept going.
There was this great big fat boy.

One way or another I kicked it
Through his legs and run round him.
That took a time. Me brother
Was shouting, Pass it to me, like.

Well like I said, I'd been there an hour.
They never give me a pass
Never even spoke to me
Or anything. So I kept going.

Beat this other boy somehow
Then there was just the goalie.
Out he came, spreadin' himself
As they say. I was really worried.

I thought he was going to hug me.
So I dipped me shoulder like they do
And the goalie moved one way, y'know
And I slammed it in the net.

Turned out afterwards it was the winner.
The manager said I was very good.
He wants me down at trainin' on Tuesday.
My friend says she's comin' as well.

from Friendly Matches (Penguin, 2001), copyright © Allen Ahlberg 2001, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Books by Allan Ahlberg