Mud-cracked, mud-punked, mud-brindled,
each foot unplugged from montane bogs,
they are tackled in mud, and then some,
strugglers sliding to the splash of try-line.
They catch the future, turn it over in their hands;
then down they scrum, with mud-flecked faces.
Again they fall, as if thrown to the very bottom,
held down in the muddy slither of trenches.
Climbing up again through troughs of rain,
they are the whole earth, kicking for touch.
LISTEN to: ‘Game’ by David Eggleton
David Eggleton lives in North Dunedin. He is a past winner of a Janet Frame Literary Trust Award, an Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Poetry for his collection The Conch Trumpet, and the Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry. His two most recent poetry publications are: SNAP, a limited-edition collaboration with artist Nigel Brown and printer John Holmes for the Otakou Press, and Edgeland and other poems from Otago University Press.
‘Game’ first appeared in the Otago Daily Times’ Weekend Mix magazine in 2018, selected by Weekend Mix poetry editor Diane Brown; and was then republished in Edgeland and other poems.