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.


Buy album £0.00

1Please Mrs Butler

2Slow Reader




6Harrison's Desk

7Bags I

8Billy McBone

9The Infants Do an Assembly about Time

10The Boy Without a Name

11A Pair of Sinners

12Where I Sit Writing

13The Vampire and the Hound

14The Actor's Mother

15Cemetery Road

16The Slow Man

17Talk Us Through it, Charlotte

18Mr Bloor

19Friendly Matches

20Dad on the Line

21Team Talk

22The Match (c 1950)

23Who Kicked Cock Robin?

24The Lovely Ball of Leather

25Dream Football

26Cops and Robbers

27Test track

28Test track 2

32Test track

Books by Allan Ahlberg