As a Mark of Respect RIP Cyrille Regis

 

as a mark of respect
all the black musicians in the orchestra pit at the Royal Opera House
stood for a minute’s silence before the evening performance of Tosca

as a mark of respect
all the black members of the cabinet
began the day’s proceedings in parliament with a short and quiet prayer

as a mark of respect
all the black executives on the board of Carillion
declared that black employees who had lost their pensions would be reimbursed as a priority

as a mark of respect
all the black editors of Britain’s national newspapers
ran a portrait on the front cover and a two-page obituary

as a mark of respect
all the black cardinals in the English hierarchy
lit candles along the aisles of their biggest and most important churches

as a mark of respect
all the black judges in the High Courts of England
bowed their heads and asked for God’s blessing

as a mark of respect
all the black members of the highest councils in the Football Association
stood for an hour in the rain outside one of England’s biggest football grounds
before going in to their important meetings

as a mark of respect
all the black members of the Royal Family
all the black dukes duchesses earls and countesses
attended a service in Windsor Castle
and gave silver plate to the homeless charity which runs a shop in the High Street

as a mark of respect
all the black bankers who had received bonuses in the last twelve months
gave their money to asylum seekers in the West Midlands

as a mark of respect
all the black generals admirals and wing commanders in the British armed forces
stood to attention for ninety minutes

as a mark of respect
all the black members of the management committee of the National Trust
saved for the nation his goal against Southampton

the one where he’s picked up the ball just inside his own half  – in the centre circle – before he makes a daft punt between the centre backs – a pass to himself which ups the ante – and he backs his own power as a sprinter and his own strength and his guardsman poise and his posture – and he’s raced through the gap between the labouring useless catch-up running of the defenders – their bit of the pitch must have been in slow-motion or it was knee-deep in seaweed or something – and then look at his lion stare at the approaching goalkeeper as he enters the area – and the cruel exactness of his delay – and he’s simply passed the ball into the net – zip! – and he’s turned with a smile like a thousand weddings – and all the love of his fans radiating from his joyful face – a love completely untarnished by the fact that the centre-back he skinned is awarded well over sixty England caps & he himself wins five

as a mark of respect
let us remember that

© Philip Rush


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One Response to As a Mark of Respect RIP Cyrille Regis

  1. Dafydd ap Pedr says:

    Sardonic and heartfelt. Love it. As a ‘fan’ of the Baggies, I remember ‘that’ goal. Nice one, Cyrille!
    Respect indeed.

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