Twenty-two stalwarts in stripes and shorts Kicking a ball along, Set in a square of leather-lunged sports Twenty-two thousand strong, Some of them shabby, some of them spruce, Savagely clamorous all, Hurling endearments, advice or abuse, At the muscular boys on the ball. Stark and stiff ’neath a stranger’s sky A few hundred miles away, War-worn, khaki-clad figures lie, Their faces rigid and grey— Stagger and drop where the bullets swarm, Where the shrapnel is bursting loud, Die, to keep England safe and warm— For a vigorous football crowd! Football’s a sport, and a rare sport too, Don’t make it a source of shame. To-day there are worthier things to do. Englishmen, play the game! A truce to the League, a truce to the Cup, Get to work with a gun. When our country’s at war, we must all back up— It’s the only thing to be done!
Jessie Pope - 1868-1941
Darkness—expectant, discreet— Only a lamp here and there, Gloom in the clattering street, Stygian black in the square; Dazzling fascias and fronts, Scintillant sky-scrapers banished, Snuffed and shut down are the spangles of Town. London has vanished. Only a few months ago London woke up every night; Dances or “Chemin” or Show, Festival vistas or light. Everywhere glitter and glare, Junket and revelry keeping. Yes, but despite the laughter and light, London was sleeping. Searchlights are probing the skies, Eastward their streamers are trailed; Masked are the city’s bright eyes— Even the tramcars are veiled. Cockneys turn in at eleven, “Stop Press” thirst finally slaked. Turn the lights out. Now, without doubt, London’s awake!