Parallel Games

Woke at ca.3.45 am. to the insistant drumming of C.L.James’s dictum:
What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?’
I reflected on it, doodled what follows, and then rejoined slumberland.
Aengus Fanning*, Editor Sunday Independent, had quoted James in an
article about my verses on 18th July 2004.
* Now, alas, the late Aengus Fanning + 17.January 2012

[for AF]
“What do they know of cricket
Who only cricket know?”
It’s more than field with wicket,
With bowlers fast and slow,
With batsmen of all classes
From genius down to dud,
Who play on varied grasses
From featherbed to mud.

It isn’t just a frolic:
It parallels the fates,
Through incidents symbolic,
Of Armies, Men and States.
eg. when Compton battled
Through Lindwall, Miller, murk;
Head bloody but unrattled:
A personal Dunkirk.

Lord’s ’53: Australia.
It seemed Man versus Midge,
For Watson/Bailey failure
Had meant to yield the Bridge.
This partnership tenacious
Began with snicks and prods,
But paralleled Horatius
In facing ‘fearful odds.

And so, this game of Cricket,
This war of bat and ball,
With one surrendered wicket
Can point an Empire’s fall.
Great Stand: a taken wicket:
Such parallels can show
That they know naught of cricket
Who only cricket know.

2 March 2005

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *