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The Poetry of Sport


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#1 Wilfrid1

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 04:13 PM

I started cluttering the Ivo & Lulu thread, so...

GJ offered this cricket poem:

There's a breathless hush in the close to-night
Ten to make and the match to win
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play, and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat.
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his captain's hand on his shoulder smote
"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"

The sand of the desert is sodden red-
Red with the wreck of the square that broke
The gatling's jammed and the colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed its banks,
And England's far and Honor a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks-
"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"




That's a good example of a cricket poem the overall sentiment of which might be questionable, and which is not well-written right through, but has some decent lines of poetry in it.
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#2 Wilfrid1

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 04:16 PM

Some cricket poems have the advantage of being written by established poets. Francis Thompson, for example, wrote "At Lord's", the first stanza of which has considerable power (you have to take the two cricketers' names in your stride, though).

It is little I repair to the matches of the Southron folk,
Though my own red roses there may blow;
It is little I repair to the matches of the Southron folk,
Though the red roses crest the caps, I know.
For the field is full of shades as I near the shadowy coast,
And a ghostly batsman plays to the bowling of a ghost,
And I look through my tears on a soundless-clapping host
As the run-stealers flicker to and fro,
To and fro: -
O my Hornby and my Barlow long ago!


"(S)oundless clapping host" is particularly striking; I visualize scratchy monochrome footage of a sports crowd with no soundtrack - although Thompson was writing pre-movies. Unfortunately, subsequent stanzas, rarely quoted, attempt to deal with the details of the match, and become unwieldy.
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#3 g.johnson

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 04:21 PM

Wikepedia, believe it or not, has an entry on cricket poetry.

I rather liked Andrew Lang's parody of Emerson's "Brahma".

If the wild bowler thinks he bowls,
Or if the batsman thinks he's bowled,
They know not, poor misguided souls,
They too shall perish unconsoled.
I am the batsman and the bat,
I am the bowler and the ball,
The umpire, the pavilion cat,
The roller, pitch, and stumps, and all.


The Obnoxious Glyn Johnson

#4 Lex

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 04:33 PM

I was busy Googling baseball poetry and found this site. Most are pretty bad but I liked this.

"Young Mantle Hits One" by Robert L. Harrison

It was a shot like no other
tearing into the breath of God,
leaving earth and grass and fans.

A sphere for the ages racing along
casting no shadow in frozen space
finally arching for the great fall.

Described on the radio as a new star,
a stellar moment of freedom expressed
bright and clean as a summer's dream.
"I don't understand what's wrong with thinking of correlation as a pricing convention the way one thinks of Black-Scholes vol. I mean, vol curves aren't "real" anyway, but nobody uses local vol models to price vanilla options." - Taion
 
"But this is blatant ultracrepidarianism on my part." - Taion

I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.

"once the penis came out, there was discussions as to why we didn't order the testicles" - Daniel describing a meal in China

#5 Wilfrid1

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 05:54 PM

That's not so bad.

Wikepedia, believe it or not, has an entry on cricket poetry.


Mongo needs to check the Gavaskar calypso.

I actually quoted some of Arlott's poem about Jack Hobbs in memoriam poor Bob Woolmer.

There falls across this one December day
The light remembered from those suns of June
That you reflected in the summer play
Of perfect strokes across the afternoon.

No yeoman ever walked his household land
More sure of step, or more secure of lease,
Than you, accustomed and unhurried,
trod Your small yet mighty manor of the crease.

The game the Wealden rustics handed down
Through growing skill, became,
in you, a part Of sense; and ripened to a style that showed
Their country sport matured to balanced art.

There was a wisdom so informed your bat
To understanding of the bowler's trade
That each resource of strength or skill he used
Seemed but the context of the stroke you played.

The Master: records prove the title good:
Yet figures fail you, for they cannot say
How many men whose names you never knew
Are proud to tell their sons they saw you play


They share the sunlight of your summer day
Of thirty years; and they, with you, recall
How, through those well-wrought centuries, your hand
Reshaped the history of bat and ball.


Sentimental, but quite accomplished, I think. He actually manages to talk about some of the practicalities of the game without ruining the mood. "How many men whose names you never knew/Are proud to tell their sons they saw you play" is a wonderful tribute.
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#6 flyfish

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 06:44 PM

Angling is arguably the most written-about sport in the English language, going back to the 15th century. There have been a lot of poems written about flyfishing, most of which are sentimental claptrap and none of which you will find enshrined in the Institute. <_<

(And for a rousing song about soccer, click on the link in my sig)
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