tennis at night

quite tennis field during nighttime
Photo by Tomas Andreopoulos on

I watch them from the warmth, their matchstick bodies

Thrown across the court, underneath the light,

Bright and white, unwavering. Their breath

Hangs in icy clouds as groans erupt from lungs

That long for wins in quiet pockets of the night.

They play to knock the wrongs, the awful shit

That rattles round their heads, they long for peace

And echoes of that devil ball, hitting racket, hitting court,

Becomes a meditation on the frosty day, as night

Begins to settle and the floodlights mark their world.

Outside their court their demons dance

In darkness, clawing at the fence of wire

In the knowledge that their prey is there, ready

For that moment when the game is won

And bags are packed, a silent walk with heads

Bowed low, in prayer. In contemplation they will leave

And sit in cars, windows fogged from deepest breaths.

A moment taken, quietness is needed

As the court lights dip and music plays

To end the show, the tennis was but secondary

In this battle late at night. And that is why

They play this hour as I stare, wishing that

I had an outlet just like that, to while away

Those lonely hours after darkness falls.

on having a nervous disposition

She’s nervous and really she must

Snap out of this behaviour today,

That’s what they’d always eventually say.

But how could I stop a train on its tracks

Careering through time and immovable space?

I would wriggle inside my tight bound constraints

And hope for a day when I’d outrun the train

And steady the sea that swells inside me.

I don’t know if any of you reading this have ever had extreme nerves but I was plagued by them as a child and, to a lesser extent, they have followed me through to adulthood.

As a child I was a competitive swimmer and before every meet I would start to feel nauseous and by the time I was about to be racing I would be vomiting uncontrollably.

It was detrimental to my performance and it was embarrassing. But what made it worse was the people around me who regularly told me that I needed to snap out of it, or get the nerves under control.

I would have loved nothing more than to get them under control, but the truth of the matter was that I had been programmed to believe that my parents would take their love away from me if I were to do badly. The terror I felt came from a place where I thought that my caregivers would stop providing for me, and for a child that means death.

I think that children who display extreme nerves have often had some sort of trauma in their life and my heart goes out to them when people say pull yourself together.

I know that as I embark on my new teaching career I’m going to come across so many children that are jumpy and nervous and my intention is to treat them with kindness and understanding, because who the hell knows what they may have been through?

Much Love

Rachel xx