Big Game Poetry


The Charge of the Cardinal
Lord Eric Lutkin, 2008
with apologies to Alfred Tennyson
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the stadium of Death
Rode the eighty five.
"Forward, the Cardinal!"
"Charge for The Axe!" he said:
Into the stadium of Death
Rode the eighty five.
"Forward, the Cardinal!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the players knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to Beat the Bears:
Into the stadium of Cal
Rode the eighty five.
Best to right of them,
Boatneg to left of them,
Riley in front of them
Blitz'd and block'd;
Storm'd at with run and pass,
Boldly they tackled and covered,
Into the stadium of Cal,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the eighty five.
Flash'd all their defenses bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
Tackling the runners there,
Sacking a quarterback, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the Berkeley-haze
Right thro' the line they broke;
Mcnally and Udofia
Reel'd from the double team
Tackle'd and sack'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the eighty five.
Follett to right of them,
Mohamed to left of them,
Thompson behind them
Blitz'd and block'd;
Storm'd at with twist and stunt,
While flanker and quarterback fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the stadium of Cal
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of eighty five.
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Cardinal,
Noble eighty five.