Stumps

Stumps

Stumps, yes. Firmly planted.
Newly arrived at the wicket,
I can now take my guard.
Last man in
with everything to play for.

“Middle and off. Please.”
I hold the bat steady, upright,
and the man in white
nods his head, counts
the coins, or stones,
he has in his pocket
and wonders when he can leave
his post and go to tea.

I stand, there, right-handed,
and the field adjusts.
Then I change hands,
keep the same guard,
now middle and leg,
and stare at the square leg,
now a short leg
who glares back fiercely.

The man in the white coat
tut-tuts in despair.
I know he knows this isn’t done.
It’s just not cricket.
But then, he’s not the one
batting on a cloth untrue,
with a twisted cue,
while the bowlers bowl
with elliptical balls.

The field changes over
to a left-handed stance.
I think about changing over again,
but I’m sure there’d be an appeal:
wasting time, a nasty crime
at this stage of the game,
though many do it.

First ball, a long-hop,
and I clobber it for four.
Three runs to win,
four balls to bowl.
I block the next ball.
The one after is short.
I cut it away past gully
and call for two.
I make it home safe
but my partner is run out
at the bowler’s end.

We lose by one run.
“Serve you right,”
says the man in the white coat,
racing towards the pavilion
for a pee before tea.
“That just wasn’t cricket.”

I walk slowly back,
stiff upper lip,
ramrod straight bat,
and no time at all for this
sticky dog wicket.


Comment: I wonder how many of my followers will have understood a word of what I have written. Never mind. You can always enjoy the painting. Oh the mysteries of what used to be England’s national game and a wonderful source of metaphor and image. A double-header on the weekend. England vs the West Indies. I wonder if it will be that close?

Click here for Roger’s reading.
Stumps.

2 thoughts on “Stumps

  1. Last night I took the grandkids Emilie, Ollie and Flynn to cricket practice.
    It was thirty degrees. Kitted up with helmets these days they enjoyed a few drills and a short round of practice overs before cricket commences today after the holiday break.
    Fynnie aged 4 1/2 met with group the under fives. He had a ball. The game we knew is being eclipsed by a new style. The stiff upper lip no longer required. Team games do teach life lessons of comradeship skills at managing hopes, expectations and dissappointments. The tradition lives on in the family

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is so lovely. Thank you. My Canadian comments have centered on the theme “we’re stumped”. I do miss my cricket. A double Header tomorrow – England vs Windies. But wow, were they ever demolished by OZ. Totally unprepared. Men against boys.

      Like

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