It’s Boat Race weekend!
April 11th marked an historic event. The women’s Oxford vs Cambridge boat race held on the same course and day as the men’s. Both races were a fine spectacle marking a British tradition which inspired a poem which features in our new book, The Very Great Britain in Poetry.
Cox and Rowers
An annual spectacle of tradition and pace
Honed athletes in tune with rich poise and grace.
After Goldie v Isis, the main event’s on
Oxford and Cambridge: colours they don.
The mother of all boat races, heritage rich
Get there early for front line, and line up your pitch.
Since 1829 when this fine race panned out
A gold sovereign is tossed for commencement and clout.
Which side of the river for teams in the zone?
This coin’s filled with passion, each mind on its own.
Secure in the moment, a blood rush which smarts
They’re off with precision; each coxswain imparts.
Suppressing the nerves, they position their eights
And vy for best water, whilst crowd’s breath abates.
Instructions, fine tuning, keeping in time
Muscles holding the line, pure poetry in rhyme.
On Putney embankment strong words are the cry
From spectators on towpath as boats pass them by.
Then drama ensues with the umpires launch
“Watch out for the waves now…they’ll cover your haunch!”
On north bank the winning cox dunking takes place
Respectful, the smile firmly stays on his face.
Resplendent, the glory of taking the cup
Another race over…we’ve champagne to sup.