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Updated: March 18, 2010 08:44 IST

O Beckham, where art thou?

AP
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ACMilan's David Beckham during the Italian Serie A match against Chievo in Milan on March 14.
AFP ACMilan's David Beckham during the Italian Serie A match against Chievo in Milan on March 14.

Poet Laureate pens a poem about David Beckham's injury. The poem weaves the mythical story together with references to Beckham's life, including his marriage to former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and his experimental fashion sense

David Beckham has become an unlikely muse to Britain's Poet Laureate, who has written a verse about the soccer star's career-threatening injury.

The former England captain tore his Achilles' tendon in a game on Sunday and will miss the World Cup in June as he recovers from surgery.

Carol Ann Duffy's poem imagines Mr. Beckham as the ancient Greek hero Achilles, who according to myth was dipped as a baby in the River Styx, making him invulnerable — except for his exposed heel, the origin of the modern terms Achilles' tendon, and Achilles' heel.

The poem weaves the mythical story together with references to Beckham's life, including his marriage to former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and his experimental fashion sense. It speaks of the hero concealed “in girls' sarongs; days of sweetmeats, spices, silver songs”.

It describes him on the field, “his charmed foot on the ball.”

“But then his heel, his heel, his heel...”

Ms. Duffy told the BBC on Tuesday she was inspired because Mr. Beckham “is almost a mythical figure himself, in popular culture”.

Mr. Beckham's injury shattered his hopes of becoming the first English player to appear in four World Cups and put the 34-year-old player's future on the national team in doubt.

Ms. Duffy, a soccer fan, said she had been moved by the image of Mr. Beckham in tears at the side of the pitch after his injury.

“You just thought how all the money in the world and private planes can't sort this. It was a very moving moment.”

But she said she doubted she would be hearing from Beckham.

“I'm a lot more likely to watch football than he is to read poetry,” said Ms. Duffy.

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