And our Pick of the Month for April 2017 is David Subacchi’s ‘Cross Country’


More than 250 of you voted – a record for us – leading to a sprint finish that saw ‘Cross Country’ by David Subacchi as our Pick of the Month for April 2017. This fine poem struck a nostalgic nerve with many of you although it was 50/50 as to whether you loved or dreaded the sport itself!

David lives in Wales (UK) where he was born of Italian roots. He studied at the University of Liverpool and he has three poetry collections with Cestrian Press First Cut (2012), Hiding in Shadows (2014) and Not Really a Stranger (2016).  David has also recently published a collection of Sonnets A Terrible Beauty in commemoration of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising. He writes in Welsh and Italian and blogs at

David will receive a National Book Token for £10.


Cross Country

A reluctant concession
For those of insufficient bulk
Or violent disposition
To take part in the awful
Battle of blood and mud
Laughingly referred to
As a game.

Our route wound
Far away from
The killing fields
Past gasworks
And railway lines
Through the village.

Once out of sight
A walking pace
Talking to local girls
Cursing the brutality
Of the egg shaped ball.

Then returning
To the jeers
Of shirt ripped
Our mock exhaustion
Too dramatic
Fooling no one.


Voters comments included:

David Subacchi has the human touch – when you read him it is like you thought that, but didn’t know how to put it into words.

Distills the essence of a very familiar experience!

Rhythm of verses felt like running

Love David’s precision of language

I like the skew of it. Interesting language from a surprising angle.

It brings back so many memories, it made me smile

It evokes so many memories of cross country at my school. This poem creates so many visions and is so poignant.

Brings back the memories. Short cuts, false panting, an unnecessary puff on the inhaler to fool the teacher. Fantastic.

Reminds me of those awful childhood treks!

Brings back happy memories of my school days, seeing the boys running past the perimeter fence of our school and laughing & joking (sometimes jeering lol) with them

David’s poetry always helps you to see the ordinary transformed.

It matches some of my own experience – though mine was more dull. Scared and useless at rugby & cricket.

Reading it twice and taking in the title, it reminded me of cross country as engaged in here in the States and the 2-word phrase “past gasworks” as an intended or not, echo of an early David Bowie lyric, using the phrase “past the gasworks” made me smile. It was a song called ‘Uncle Arthur’ from 1967.

David Subacchi is such an observant writer; I love the way he expresses what he sees, what he feels and somehow captures how the listeners feel too.

So much conjured up with so few words.

It has an element of Gritty Truth

It reminds me of when I opted out of netball, was sent on a cross country run and my friends joined me. From then on we ran regularly.

I love his style and it reminds me of my ‘yoof’ !!

Shows the pain of Cross Country!


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