Jessie Pope

(18 March 1868 - 14 December 1941 / Leicestershire, England)

Play The Game - Poem by Jessie Pope

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!


Comments about Play The Game by Jessie Pope

  • (2/6/2018 6:08:00 AM)


    she used propaganda to make war seem like a game witch is a very sick thing to do (Report) Reply

    (2/6/2018 6:10:00 AM)

    war really is not something to call a game and make it sound fun: (

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (12/6/2017 3:30:00 AM)


    amazing i felt a tear go down my face (Report) Reply

  • (12/1/2015 8:54:00 PM)


    In peace or war, such words never more worthy to be said and heard. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (12/1/2015 5:57:00 PM)


    Football and war the topics of one poem. Let me ponder the vagaries of man that they appear in the same poem together (Report) Reply

  • Kim Barney (12/1/2015 1:12:00 PM)


    When she says PLAY THE GAME, she's really saying COME JOIN THE ARMY! It's a call to war, not to a game of football. (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (12/1/2015 7:50:00 AM)


    Famous game made immortal with this writing... (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (12/1/2015 7:07:00 AM)


    Nice work with the muse of a game. Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Kinyua Karanja (12/1/2015 1:40:00 AM)


    It's a nationalistic and patriotic arousing poem, specifically addressing our less regarded heroes soldiers and footballers who all acclaims respect and pride of our nations, great. (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (12/1/2015 1:29:00 AM)


    An awesome tribute to the game of football, The English people and the soldiers who are always on their toes- ready to sacrifice their lives to ensure safety and security of their country. Thanks. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, May 5, 2011

Poem Edited: Thursday, May 5, 2011


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