January 14, 2013
Genius comes in many forms: scientist
to poet, astrophysicist or scribe,
and from its milky way we imbibe
a celestial drink. We’re often pissed
on the fluffy ducks of cleverness,
garnished cocktails of the everafter.
But if you would engender laughter
and gales of glee quite effortless,
suggest that genius might reside
in knitting, crotchet or a recipe
for jam, or scones, or fricasee.
They’ll call you mad, in accents snide.
Quite different from the game of cricket
where it takes a Shane to take a wicket.
Yes, it’s summer, and a young (or autumnal) woman’s fancy turns to cricket. And in keeping my poetry on its toes, at least as alert as a New Zealand batsman. (*I lied….)
In that spirit of relaxed experimentation, please find above a wee sonnet on a gender and cricket theme.
June 15, 2012
Perhaps that should be lines. The Cricket Poetry Award closes on 31st August, so if you have an idea for a poem about playing or watching cricket, it’s time to pad up.
The prize is $2000 AUD, entry is $20, which can be done by Paypal, and the announcement of the winner is made at the SCG members pavilion. The top twenty poems from each year have previously been published in a booklet.
Entry forms and full conditions can be found here. There is a tight word limit of 150, so there is no defensive play allowed. No Boycott. Only Gower. And that has to be a good thing.
February 21, 2012
Watching Les Murray
(I am not making this up)
I went to hear a certain poet
the best known one,
the big one we own.
I wished I could draw
his gentle circles,
his particular infinity.
But I can’t draw.
Though there were pencils.
Giant ones. Three metres tall. Red.
I am not making this up.
So I sat and watched Les,
dwarfed by these giant pencils.
And if you don’t believe that,
you won’t believe this;
the place where he read
was called The Gods.
So I sat, a poet from Lilliput,
leaning on a giant pencil,
listening to God, or at least,
his Southern emissary.
I laid wistful eggs on the pencils.
In time, something may emerge,
and help me make something up.
I went to see Les Murray read at the Gods, a café/restaurant on the Australian National University campus on Wednesday, 15th February. Organised, as always, by the indefatigable Geoff Page. There are giant pencils attached to the walls of the café, as you can see in this appalling photo:
Les Murray is so very good as a reader, and I was impressed by how many humorous poems he read last week. I wrote the poem above about four years ago, when I was just starting to make contact with my fellow poets (but before my licence was issued, in the form of my first book). It recalls a much shyer Penelope, sitting in the corner, watching Les read.
Another poet at Les’s reading was Mark Tredinnick, who, as you may know, recently won the Montreal Poetry Prize for his poem, ‘Walking Underwater’. Mark is of course endlessly teased now by cruel people (who shall remain nameless) about how he is spending the prize money, but he takes it very well.
All in all, this was a wonderful night and it reminded me of just how good poetry can be. As Les Murray said, poetry is strong stuff, and it doesn’t need the crutch of prose to justify itself.
Easy for you to say, Les!
On a totally unrelated issue, my review of ‘A Tingling Catch’ : A Century of New Zealand Cricket Poems 1864-2009, ed. Mark Pirie, Wellington: HeadworX, 2010 has just been published at Cordite. Those who were worried that I was going to write a post without mentioning sport can now breathe more easily. Although watching poets read (and listening to them, too) has aspects of a sport about it.
February 17, 2012
I just had a poem on this very useful topic published at Eureka Street. So if you would like a quick education on wrestling holds (including the Frankensteiner, a personal favourite of mine since the nineteenth century) why not have a look? Click here to have ring-side seats. There is also a lovely poem by Melbourne’s Barry Gittins.
February 13, 2012
[The LORD] taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
Now that’s perfection. He never emits
a single groan, moves just enough,
seems to have a sixth sense about
those lines. That’s a subject worthy
of worship. His legs are thin, I see,
a little like mine. After match speeches
all listened to with bated breath.
Catches minds like fish. Mild and fair.
I wish Someone would sent lightning,
make that thick black hair echidna itself.
Just a bit. I was crucified, never got half
this much adulation. He looks a lot
better in shorts though, that’s true.
Though not like that other Rafael.
Everyone delights in his angel-legs.
Oh well, who cares?
Pass the strawberries.
Part of a series in which a character called Modern Jesus is just as world-weary and cynical as the rest of us. Started out from that weird line in Psalm 147 about God not delighting in legs. Ended in fruit.