The Giant

by Duncan Jones

The field that day was swarming
For was a tournament at hand
The strong and fast and tough had come
From across the sporting land

The sun was high, the sky was blue
The grass was soft and dry
Perfect for the strong to hunt the fast
Perfect for the fast to fly

The stands were full of fans
The sidelines full of scouts
The books were full of plays and plans
And lungs were full of shouts

All the greatest teams had showed …
Mustangs, Wolves, Red Lions, Knights
Artful Dodgers and Impalas
Stood among the jerseyed sights …

And the sizing up had started
With the silent warnings shown
Muscles flexed behind cold stares
You know, just to make it known

There was spitting, there was chanting
Some even looked deranged
But when a certain unknown graced the field
Well … those attitudes were changed

No one knew from whence he came
But they knew when he was there
And it was hardly but a moment
Before they all had turned to stare

With every pair of eyes upon him
He crossed the open field
Cleats hanging from a massive neck
Meant to anchor sword and shield

A man far from his natural time
He towered over all
He walked as they stood frozen
And made the trees look small

The dogs all kept their distance
The children ran and hid
The players who were warming up
Stopped everything they did

At one time they had wanted
Such a day to draw a crowd
But now this was something different
Perhaps they’d called too loud

No, it had never crossed their minds
Of the chance they’d have to face
Such a mountain walking toward them
Who never changed his pace

His eyes looked only straight ahead
Someone said, “We’re gonna lose.”
But the giant passed without a glance
Dropped his bag and laced his shoes

He took to warming up alone
And they just had to watch the show
Soon the tough looked rather timid
And the fast looked rather slow

The Mustangs turned to ponies
The Knights made not a peep
Red Lions now looked yellow
And the Wolves felt more like sheep

His long arms were constrictors
His hands were thick and coarse
Shoulders borrowed from a silverback
Legs borrowed from a horse

His abs were so enormous
To be seen beneath his shirt
And when he started running
Grass was shredded from the dirt

He took a kick from centerfield
That slammed the goal post bar
Then grunted, chased it down
And threw the ball back twice as far

The field was silent as they watched him
Wondering, “How to stop this guy?”
And when the host team’s coach approached him
You could have heard a butterfly

“Pardon me for interrupting
One last formality or two …
A final bit of registration
Just need a signature from you …”

A few pleasantries were traded
And the giant’s name was said
And the Coach looked through his papers
But then he shook his head

Awkward seconds ticked by slowly
The coach fumbled with his pen
“It seems your name’s not on the list
Though of course I’ll check again!”

Two seconds turned to twenty
Twenty into forty five
Until the poor coach looked around
As if for help to stay alive

And then the giant cracked a smile
“Well that’s just fine with me
I hadn’t planned to play today
… I’m the referee!”

A gasp escaped from every mouth
For so many lives were spared
And quickly now the beasts stood tall
As if they’d never cared

The warming up resumed once more
And children’s voices heard
The dogs all barked and ran around
Fear now just a silly word

Impalas found the open grass
Lions looked again like kings
The Knights became so tough to stare
And chant all kinds of things

Oh courage had returned!
And how boldly back it came!
And when the strong and fast were ready
They played their manly game