“Still the church of granite grey its haunting music hears, while fields are singing, or obey the silence winter wears.”
The words of the late Vernon Watkins: Swansea poet, friend of Dylan Thomas, and grandfather to the Dons’ latest signing.
The elder Watkins did not live to meet the younger, but had he done so he could have offered Marley a uniquely lyrical and whimsical appraisal of his own career in the performing arts. It remains strange to hear our football fields singing with previously unheard shouts of instruction, while all around obeys the silence of this coronavirus winter. The granite church of Pittodrie is always alive with the faint music of deeds past, but currently echoes hauntingly with only yells from the dugout.
It is a most unusual atmosphere in which to run out for a new club. Toiling unseen, with no welcome, nor indication of how one’s efforts will be received by the public, Watkins will never again experience anything this close to the tortured and uncertain creative process of the expressive poet.
Stacking the collective with creators – at least five of yesterday’s starting eleven would wear the label – theoretically allows each to bounce things off the other, and though it took some time to arrive the interplay for the pivotal second goal was the perfect example. Three simple but insightful lines of footballing dialogue between Ryan Hedges and Scott Wright was all it took for the doors of possibility to swing wide open in front of the latter, and with a single flourish the story of another tight Dons win was written.
The secret of great poetry is to say much with little. Aberdeen’s point-chiselling style may be more prosaic than his ever was, but Marley’s granddad would surely appreciate their economy of touch and efficiency of creativity.