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Monday, 10 August 2009

On the Poetry of Cricket


This space is not known for its love of sport, where invariably it’s  dismissed briefly as ‘exercise’.

Your correspondent is blessed with neither a ‘true eye’, a sense of balance nor indeed any interest in doing much other than getting off the sofa to make the occasional cup of tea.

Otherwise, in between bouts of sleep long enough to make a dormouse  weep, she provokes her husband and brother about their perpetual semi-mourning for the glory days of Manchester City Football Club.

However, she does recall the late  Neville Cardus, who made elegiac music  from the cliched thwack of leather on willow.

Now it appears that Michael Laskey, founder of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, has discovered those parts that the English X1 is currently failing to reach.

His poem, On Giving Up Cricket has been used by the BBC on radio and television trailers for The Ashes .

If this be the poetry of cricket – play on!


On Having Given Up Cricket

I shall play cricket in heaven
in return for the afternoons
gladly given to the other
pleasure of others' leisure.

I shall walk, without haste, to the wicket
and nod to the angels kitted
in their whites waiting to discern
the kind of batspirit I am.

And one stroke in heaven, one dream
of a cover drive will redeem
every meeting of bat
and ball I've done without.

And I'll bowl too, come on to bowl
leg-breaks with such control
of flight and slight changes of pace
that one over will efface

the faint regret I now feel.
But best of all I shall field:
alert in the heavenly deep,
beyond the boundary of sleep.

From Thinking of Happiness, 1991

* The International Aldeburgh Poetry Festival runs this year from 06 – 08 November.


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