Between

March 19, 2020

Between

8th March 2020
Women’s T20 final, Melbourne

A perfect night —
the MCG swarming
with yellow and green bees,
flocking and buzzing and singing,
mixed in with an Indian blue.
There, I finally saw
what T20 is good for.
85,000 of us, give or take,
to watch 22 women,
bowling, fielding, swinging.
The cake was iced
as our team lifted the cup.
Then we danced to one Perry —
Ellyse, alas, side-lined,
spectating just like us.

After the fires,
where we couldn’t breathe,
and before the virus
locked so much up,
we sang and yelled and clapped.
Such lively peace between
seeming endless fires,
and a tiny foe, unseen.

PS Cottier

MCG

Already it seems like a different world from just on two weeks ago, when I was down in Melbourne for the T20 final. A brilliant performance by the Australian team. Katy Perry and the dancing cricket bats. A packed MCG. And now events with over 100 people are basically banned.

Australia had just had the worst summer in terms of bushfires, and now, looking back, this great night at the MCG seems a moment of poise before we fell over into the world of the virus. So glad that I have the memory of this night! And I can’t wait for ridiculously large crowds to reappear.

Skiing for the first time is like…

…strapping a fake pelican’s bill to your face
and being told go fish, go now, go quick!

And the sardines are fifty metres below
and the waves are all like Teahupo’o,

but icy as the Atlantic, not tropical Tahitian,
so you can’t feel your new prow because it’s frozen

to your nose. It’s growing, speedy as Pinocchio’s,
this aberrant beak, and you wish that you had lied

and pleaded stomach bugs or swine flu or Death,
who now looms, laughing in pink fluorescent pants

urging you to push off, go now, go quick!
And you gaze down, down to the white fields

soon to be strewn with your broken, severed legs,
punctuating cold pages with exclamatory pain.

Whoosh!!

PS Cottier

demon-pursuer

‘Skiing for the first time is like…’ awarded second prize in the Cooma Feast of Poetry 2009 (Adult open section). Published in Cooma Feast of Poetry chapbook, 2009.

Just a follow up from the mountain themed entry last week. But I have never skied; too much of a wimp, and too little snow. The nearest I’ve been is on a sled; a bit like the guy above.

UPDATE: I previously posted a link to a review I wrote of a history of Australian women’s football, but a reader has informed me that it’s behind a paywall, so I have removed it. So skiing is the only sport here!

This one is via link to Eye To The Telescope, an online journal of speculative poetry run by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, based in the United States. The issue on ‘Sports and Games’ was edited by Lisa Timpf, who I believe is Canadian, so I’m extra pleased to have a poem about cricket published there. My poem is second in the issue, but have a look at all the poetry!

Magic!

I have just heard that the poet Les Murray has died, and I am rereading some of his best work, such as The Cows on Killing Day. I remember talking to him about this poem, and whether he had thought of becoming vegetarian, and he said that that would mean a lot fewer cows in existence!

In person I found him to be an affable and funny man, and on the day of his death that is a good way to remember him. There will be a lot of proper obituaries appearing tomorrow.

Cheers, Les.

Stealing Les Murray’s beer

All the blond Jesuses

You see them wriggle free of windows,
lithe as silver fish, but golden-haired.
These Jesuses, blond sons of blond Marys,
head out the door to play cricket,
with leather and willow in sudden whites.
St Dorothy joins in, and its all fruit
and flowers and UK May, as Jesuses
bloom like jonquils on the soft field.
Sometimes a Jesus will stop for a while,
and an almost-frown appear. He recalls
another day, when he was darker skinned,
darker haired, and his reaching hands
caught iron, not the ball flicked to slip
like an idea. Oranges smile like cut suns.
The stumped Jesus reconciles himself
to this easier gig, amongst teammates
all as blond and as quick as wit itself.
He scampers between wickets, wood kinder
than when he cried, and slumped and died,
before the dark cave, and its inconstant rock.

PS Cottier

William_Blake_-_Christ_Appearing_to_the_Apostles_after_the_Resurrection_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

This poem has appeared in Verity La and in my short collection Selection Criteria for Death in Triptych Poets Issue 3 (Blemish Books).

It’s an interesting thing that some put more emphasis on the crucifixion than the resurrection; dwelling on pain rather than the triumph of good over evil, or hope, if you prefer. Those two are running through my poem, and I’ll avoid roping in any yellow tape. You can rough up a metaphor too thoroughly.

He is risen indeed!

Passing beauty

It’s moving, just ahead
of the player’s most clever feet.
Every four years, we fill a cup,
then pour it out, a month of dreams.
Was it just last week that Bergkamp
flicked with orange elegance,
side-footing space and time?
No, he is long gone now,
off fielding fifty years.
Others follow. Messy time
melts beauty, remoulds it,
casts it always anew.
It never ages, constantly fired,
as we fade, we watchers,
yesterday’s players, passing.
Twenty sips at the cup
will fill a lifetime;
held safe in keeper’s hands.

PS Cottier

Boots.jpg

This poem was just republished in Boots:A Selections of Football Poetry 1890-2017, edited by Mark Pirie of New Zealand. As Mark has it up as an sample from the book, I thought I would also republish it here. It was first published in Eureka Street here in Australia.

The book contains poems from New Zealand, England, France and the Netherlands, with New Zealand being the home of most. It is well worth reading for the diversity of approaches: biographical, political, elegiac (mine, for once!) humorous and historical. A lovely present for anyone interested in football.

It can be ordered through Lulu through the publisher’s website (HeadworX Publishers). Boots is an expanded edition of a previous collection first published in 2014.