Bat and ball and pen

May 31, 2011

There’s currently a great poetry competition on called the Cricket Poetry Award . For members of full member registered ICC countries only, of course, and if you don’t know what that means, you’re probably not going to be that interested in cricket.  There’s a list of the countries on the site.  For my American friends, cricket is a kind of baseball with rules.  Lots of them.

I was short-listed for the prize a couple of years back with my poem ‘DIY’, about the way we act as famous sports-people when we play cricket, (or basket-ball, or football; Lionel Messi is a fallen angel, isn’t he?  One who looks like an accountant after the Christmas party).  The entry fee is $20, which may be a little steep for some cricket fanatics in developing countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka.  But the first (and only monetary) prize is $2000.  That’s Australian dollars, which are currently worth more than the greenback.  And short-listed poems are usually published in some form, although this is not in the rules (that word again).

The poetry can be about social cricket, and there is some information at the site about types of poetry.  I enjoyed the opportunity to write about a sport that dominates Australia’s summers, particularly when we are playing England (who seem to have a team made up mostly of South Africans).

Here’s my poem from 2009.


In the backyard I was always David Gower.

I opted for an easy nonchalance,

the sweep you could weep for, the air cut

with a wooden knife of sudden elegance,

(when it could be bothered to dance the dance).

Truth is, I couldn’t bat at all, but that

is merely a fact. In the suburb of dreams,

I was graceful and quick and David Gower.

Why would anyone opt to be Dennis Lillee?

Grunt-powered, facial hair fallen to chest

where it grew into rain-forest, sweat-sprinkled.

There was nothing of the lily about him;

nothing quiet or lovely or sweet-scented

(although he always bowled as if he meant it).

Yet everyone else chose this dubious flower,

right-handed terror to my imaginary Gower.

P.S. Cottier

Thoughts? Carrots? Sticks? Comments? Go ahead!

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