I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Euro 2016, with today’s 3-3 nailbiter between startlingly overachieving Hungary and majorly underperforming Portugal the most exciting game yet. Over on the other channel at the same time, tiny Iceland, with a population (330,000) about half that of the state of Vermont, continued its astonishing football journey by defeating Austria in the final seconds, sparking one of the most delirious moments of sports commentary I may have ever come upon. If you need a bit of cheering up, this man has (temporarily I hope) sacrificed his voice for you… (It goes on for at least a minute or two more. A longer version, and with live action, is here — I was unable to embed that video.)
I’m alone again. I sit watching the sun go down, peach as my grandmother’s table-cloth behind the nuclear power station. A great orange moon hangs over the sea and the winds die bringing in the night.
Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on – on – and out of sight.
Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun;
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away… O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; and the singing will never be done.
Siegfried Sassoon’s poem was written at the end of the First World War.
I am tired tonight. My eyes are out of focus, my body droops under the weight of the day, but as I leave you Queer lads let me leave you singing. I had to write of a sad time as a witness – not to cloud your smiles – please read the cares of the world that I have locked in these pages; and after, put this book aside and love. May you of a better future, love without a care and remember we loved too. As the shadows closed in, the stars came out.