on Ukraine

out on the weekend
we spend hours playing, shopping
while others wait still

~

CLP 02/07/2022

Poetry Prompt #6 “The Over”

For each of the six lines in this poem begin as follows:

1. Walk thirteen paces away from a white line painted, with others, on an immaculately mown grass field.

2. Wait for a red leather ball with hand-made seam, to be lobbed gently toward you.

3. Reach up with one hand and pluck the hard, five and three-quarter ounce orb from the air.

4. Inspect the ball for scuffs and scratches. It is from this ball you will conjure your lines.

5. Next select the side that shines and vigorously buff it up on your white-flannelled thigh.

6. Position the ball lightly between your thumb, index and second finger of your strongest hand.

7. Turn towards the white crease and pause.

And this is where your poetry spectacularly begins:

1. Think about your story arc; how will these six lines unfold.

2. Adjust your light grip upon the ball to slant cross the tight-stitched, varnished thread that circumnavigates its equator. Your next line will depend on where this one finishes up. At this point you can only imagine where this one might conclude, what drama it might cause.

3. Head up, begin to run back the way you have just walked. Concentrate on this line’s delivery.

4. On your tenth running stride, your fastest point, leap, furl up your arms, bring the red ball up to kiss the point of your chin.

5. As you stretch your leading leg to land, unfurl your arms, let go the leather ball and follow it, watching it on its brief journey.

6. This is your first line. Has it swung in flight, looped, or skidded, cut off the turf, nipped back, or jumped, been returned, or disappeared?

7. Hold that line in your mind’s eye.

8. Begin your walk back to your thirteen-step mark. Consider, did that line feel right? Did the receiver read it right, or misread it slightly?

9. What craft will you apply to your next five lines that might deceive them fully?

10. You may repeat any of the lines, or all of them if you feel in your bones you have found your rhythm, or change your next line’s pace, (faster, or slower) to mix things up.

11. You have so few lines to deliver, do not treat them lightly; this is your poetry.

~

n.b. Who said that cricket is hard to understand? Every poet could play cricket!

n.n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Write a poem as a poetry prompt. How’s that?

~

CLP 04/04/2022

August vii

seasons overlap

cricket runs into football

what a load of balls

~

CLP 14/08/2021

On Cricket

lost in crazy crowd

found myself wrapt in laughter

caught being happy

~

CLP 16/07/2021

On Playing (xi)

Why is it that teams

comprise eleven players?

Perfect for cricket.

~

n.b. I had a look on-line and the answers are pretty dumb given the fact that it was a rural game codified in 1744 and the story that Edward VIII had only eleven courtiers is a complete red herring. Cricket teams of eleven were in place long before that short-reigning monarch abdicated in 1936, never to return to live in England.

We know that football followed cricket’s lead when it came to team size, as it was promoted as the winter game for cricket players.

Famous examples of football clubs formed by cricketers include Aston Villa FC (formed in 1874) and AC Milan (1899).

The question of why eleven players were decided on for cricket remains unanswered.

~

CLP 25/01/2021

On Playing vii

Look for quick singles

Yes! No! Sorry. My mistake.

Takes two to Tango

~

n.b. Continuing with the cricketing theme, communication between batters is either a strength or a weakness. It is about being in tune with your partner. As in cricket, as in life.

Here is a clip of a classic cricketing communication breakdown for your edification. Stick with it to the end to see the culprit’s body language. Oops!

~

CLP 19/01/2021

On Playing vi

Fast delivery

dug in short and cutting back

kisses collar bone

~

n.b. All due respect to the Indian men’s cricket team in getting the runs required to beat Australia on the last day of the last test match of the series. What a feat of resilience, skill, bravery and team work!

The Australian radio commentators were generous with their praise for the tourists’ victory in Brisbane. It made exciting radio listening. How wonderful for the 5,000 or so spectators watching the remarkable performance!

My senyrū refers to my own own experience of cricket and the excitement of playing against a good fast bowler. If that ball hits you…ouch!

Cricket is indisputably the best team game ever invented. I particularly enjoy how the different cricket playing nations have developed their own culture around the game.

If you would like to find out a bit more about one of the greatest cricket teams of all time I can recommend a film about the West Indian cricket team, Fire in Babylon. The link takes you to a trailer for the movie.

AND India has announced it is sending supplies of coronavirus vaccines to a number of neighbouring countries. The first shipment is already heading to Bhutan. Nepal, Myanmar, Maldives and Seychelles are also going to be receiving vaccines from India soon. That’s the kind of news I like.

~

CLP 19/01/2021

On Playing

First rule of playing

Learn the rules (in cricket “laws”)

Then let play commence

~

n.b. The first in a series inspired by the laughter of friends, family and strangers.

~

CLP 16/01/2021

On Losing (12)

It is the hope that

drags you back every time

Without it what’s left?

~

CLP 10/12/2020

Day 13

The rhythm of the day is beginning to lose its pattern. Middle of night interruptions to sleep come without pressure to return to dreamland. Distance from others is becoming accepted; is there any point going out there?

Eschewing television as formulaic, lacking originality, dull, I choose to listen to music. Lyrics bore me. Orchestral compositions, quartets, quintets, pieces for solo instruments, jazz. The Nau Ensemble’s interpretation of Joy Division tracks holds fascination.

A day within, with only the most cursory contact with nature and that being the cool north wind as I put a banana skin in the compost bucket. I see the fresh greens and yellows of cowslips through the window. A small brown bird flies into the depths of the roadside hedge. The sun pops out before more clouds darken the sky.

I finish “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” by Yuval Noah Harari. The last chapter is about meditation. It makes sense. As I read it you are meditating in your apartment near the lakeside. I smile at the coincidence.

Come evening, the excuse to draw the curtains and shut everything out is welcomed.

I study cricket statistics online after supper, reviving specific memories of seven summers. Particular incidents return to mind vividly. How much of what comes back to me is true? Which of my stories correctly align with the figures on the scoresheets? Some stories I carry in my head are exposed as myths by the numbers.

Team mates and opponents come back to life; even one recently deceased. He provokes mixed responses. My recollection of him not entirely squaring with the eulogies posted on the club website. He was more complex than what is being written there.

Each person I recall produces a string of stories, emotions, connections to other people, places; often nothing to do with the cricket at all. My emotions twitch in response to what I read, revive, recall.

Before sleep comes again we share pillow-talk from our distant pillows. You laugh heartily tuning your soft, lilting voice into rich, base notes from your belly. It is that deep laugh of yours, the one that I feel in my stomach too.

We take care with our words. We know not where our conversation leads, but for now we are are going nowhere. There is no tomorrow.

CLP 31/03/2020