This poem was commissioned as part of the Thinking Outside the Penalty Box project celebrating African lives in football. It was included in the Young Poets Network challenge of the same name and inspired young poets to write in response. This poem, alongside three other commissioned poems, the challenge winning poems, and poems created in a workshop with Kayo Chingonyi at The Poetry Society, appear in the free Thinking Outside the Penalty Box anthology which you can read here. To find out more about this poem and the project, visit the Thinking Outside the Penalty Box page. Nick Makoha is reading with Peter Kahn and Malika Booker at the Poetry Cafe on Wednesday 27th June

Lone Star

by Nick Makoha

 for George Weah

Lone Star, you were a man on the run
when you picked the ball up on the edge
of your penalty box. A planet at your feet,
San Siro stadium sealed tight so nothing
escapes. The crowd a pair of eyes as you
moved toward the light. One man in costume
dancing across the pitch as if he were liquid
weight, a flicker, black Orpheus with five minutes
to go. The opposition’s error believing that you
were on your own. Past the halfway line
was the future, wide open like the shores of Liberia.
You ran like a man with a ship to catch. Like smoke
you had a story to tell. The boy from a village
without a well, who never spoke of money or the war.
At their forty yard line you struck the ball like a match.
Released from your spell it curled into their goal.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, The Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages.

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Tweets @PoetrySociety

Anna Akhmatova (23 June 1889-1966) Anna, Your requiem-meditations condemned and censored under shadow of terror, your loved ones disappeared one by one without a trace... and you became a poem... Retweeted by The Poetry Society

'If you were music, I would listen to you ceaselessly, and my low spirits would brighten up.' - Anna Akhmatova, born #OnThisDay in 1889 Retweeted by The Poetry Society

One bright night, as your darks tumble and you fold your whites, you see him stopping traffic, like a moon walking tree - From ‘Burlap Man’ by Peter Kahn, reading at the Poetry Cafe on 27th June with @malikabooker & @nickmakoha . Don’t miss it! bit.ly/kahnbookermako…

“Released from your spell it curled into their goal.” From Nick Makoha’s ‘Lone Star’ See @nickmakoha read with Peter Kahn and Malika Booker next Wednesday 27th June at the Poetry Café bit.ly/kahnbookermako…

My mother raises rare blooms and waters them with tea her birth waters sang like rivers my mother is now me. from 'I am Becoming My Mother' by Lorna Goodison, in the latest Poems on the Underground set Read on and order the free posters in this set: bit.ly/potu99set

test Twitter Media - My mother raises rare blooms
and waters them with tea
her birth waters sang like rivers
my mother is now me.

from 'I am Becoming My Mother' by Lorna Goodison, in the latest Poems on the Underground set

Read on and order the free posters in this set: https://t.co/33Gbi9GtuD https://t.co/1WukfaQkIf

Thrilled to see covers are out on the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize Winners for #poetry 2017 - thanks to @IndigoDreamsPub indigodreams.co.uk/geoff-stevens/… Books out for @paulmcgranepoet and me in late July. Retweeted by The Poetry Society

A special event at The British Museum next Friday 29th June featuring a great trio of poets @iamrichardscott, @laurascott112 and @keithjlondon reading poems inspired by the Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece exhibition poetrysociety.org.uk/event/special-…

test Twitter Media - A special event at The British Museum next Friday 29th June featuring a great trio of poets @iamrichardscott, @laurascott112 and @keithjlondon reading poems inspired by the Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece exhibition 
https://t.co/B7bhfPnihY https://t.co/pM30TTNgqq