Brendan Beary: To An Athlete Failing His Drug Test



(With apologies to A. E. Housman)

That day you won your town the race
Foretold no scandal, no disgrace
As stewards led you from the course
To see a man about a horse.

They now confront you, holding up
A different kind of winner's cup:
A one you'll use in this latrine,
That, even filled, must yet be clean.
 
Daft lad, to think your simple cheat
Could be kept hidden or discreet;
Others (I am not the first)
Sussed out your drug-assisted burst.
 
We're sure you'll claim you'd been misled,
Or tripped the test with Sudafed;
Inveigh against the lab reports,
But pardon our derisive snorts.
 
For you are not the first who's tried
And found himself disqualified,
So acting wronged and vitriolic's
Naught but steroid ana-bollocks.
 
The race may not go to the swift,
But still, this unexpected lift
Is very clearly not the kind
Ecclesiastes had in mind.
 
To other cheats you'll be compared −
Their medals stripped, their mettles bared;
You've joined them in that long array
Of all who've pissed their gifts away.