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

Towny Owl

Summer’s heat, unnatural to Norwich

lingers, holds the city in a blanket,

slowly smothers dreams of sleep we long for,

laid out breathless, adrift on airless beds,

praying for the day’s end, “Please, let us be.”

~

Kissing the window, backlit by street lamps,

leaves of birch resemble ukiyo-e,

nature frozen in delicate block print.

~

The hillside wood across the way breathes out,

its cool canopy shelters waking life,

silent flitting of bats and cautious mice,

timid nocturnal snuffling of the shrew,

fearful of false movement now she has heard

the mournful call of night’s hunting bird

~

n.b. I was delighted to hear a tawny owl’s call in the August heat of the city, where the night is silent by comparison to the heath of Salthouse and the shifting shingle of the North Sea coast.

~

CLP  24th August, 2020

Silver

The harsh-sunned pool laid flat still

Mirror to the willows’ feathered limbs

A float-glass plate decorated with green

Fronds and strands held still beneath

No flow, no breath

I lean on the stone parapet

See my silhouette’s sharp outline

I am about to leave this scene

When a metallic flash, a flip, a soft splash

The surface cut from below by a butterfly kiss

Yes, she’s there, but not for long

But she’s there

I smile to myself and wander happily on

~

CLP 10/08/2020