Many of Bruce Dawe's poems have a heavy message and a bleak meaning relating to society's weaknesses and downfalls. Many of his poems criticise groups and individuals for their actions and attitudes within society, but we tried to find some poems to compare which were a little more hopeful and less dismal. .
Although these poems are not meaningless, they are a little more lighthearted than many poems, as they do not talk about war, conflict, death, or the doomed earth. Rather they are just parodies of the image of a football fan. Both of these poems deliver a similar message, or rather a comment on society's values and priorities. Both "The True Believers" and "The High Mark" establish that football has taken the place of religion in some peoples lives by using religious terms and ideas to depict the game and the culture as a type of devotion. .
In poems such as "Enter Without So Much as Knocking" Dawe strongly criticizes society's lack of spirituality and comments on how easily society can be influenced. In the two poems under discussion here however, Dawe gently satirizes football fans in the way that they commit themselves wholly to the game, as if it were their religion. The poems are actually more of an affectionate send-up of football supporters and he is warm towards his characters, celebrating the ability of football to bring a community together, and to inspire passion. .
Another of Dawe's poems, "Life Cycle", follows the same theme of comparing football to religion. This poem differs slightly from the other two as it is a bit more critical and the tone is more sarcastic. In "Life Cycle", Dawe even goes so far as to suggest that football keeps us young while at the same time celebrating the notion that football appeals to all ages and different types of people.
The quotation at the beginning of Dawe's "True Believers"- "For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality" does not seem very significant upon first reading, but when we looked at the context from which it came a deeper meaning emerges.