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The ghosts of poets appear to the author at the England v Australia ODI - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
The ghosts of poets appear to the author at the England v Australia ODI

Thus the tourists end their innings,

Par for Hampshire of the Rose;

Old men fed on eggs and bacon

Waken from their sun-drunk doze,

Clutch their eggs-and-bacon neckties,

And for England pray it goes,

Defended wickets, banging bound’ries,

Aussie fielding overthrows,

Brilliant batting, rapid run-rates,

And no lbw woes.


Committee minutes, at the year’s drear end,

Make two fat volumes.  But they are not poems –

Or even verse.  In fact they’re rather worse,

A prosy sort of prose: the old toad, work,

Has in its head no facet of a jewel.


But Wisden, now, that hoard of wisdom set

In columns of statistics, does conceal

A special poetry.  Hop off, old toad,

Today is for the cricket, and today

I am for cricket, skiving, glad to skive.

Hop off, old toad, whilst England’s innings last.


Much better, then, a wicket to defend,

A boundary to smash; the tide that stems

The tide of toadly labour, vapid verse,

Let us embrace, and harrowed labours shirk:

On such a day, to slave for pay is cruel.


O let there be no hindrance, toads, no let,

To stay us from the ‘howzat’, the appeal;

The yorker bowled, the six beyond the rope,

Outsoaring the pavilion.  Stop not play,

Good rain, and let the surging batsman drive

The ball as Grace did in the days now past.


How horrid to be made to stay away

By supervisors threatening one’s pay:

Thank God I am not middle-class like they.


I am not given out; o, hear me.

Let not the Aussie bowling come too near me.


I am not given out; do let me

Bang sixes that Wisden shall not soon forget me.

I am not leg before; uphold me,

And let me not be caught behind lest Straussy scold me.


And it’s no go the Strine appeal, no go lbw,

We’ll keep the wicket safe and Oz shall not trouble you,

We’re all o’er your fifty-overs and primed for the Ashes,

And all we want’re the gongs that come with winning summer matches.


I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats o’er Hampshire creases,

Until I heard the cheering crowd

Whose fond hope never ceases:

Who think that England’s strife-ful side

Can win off no-balls and a wide.


But – what is this? A marvel, sure,

That makes the hope of wins endure:

An Irishman with mighty bat

Knocks Aussie bowling, just like that.

Good Lord, we’ve won, and Ponting’s face

Looks like he’s seen the ghost of Grace.


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13 comments or Leave a comment
femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: June 23rd, 2010 11:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

*ponders poets*

Well, the last is obviously Wordsworth (dear God, I'll have that whole poem rumbling through my head for the rest of the night, thanks to you *g*), and the third is Louis MacNeice.

To me, the second sounds very Eliot in phrasing and structure. (I do love T.S. Even though he's a bit problematic with some of his views. Still. The Hollow Men, Ash Wednesday...I cannot live without them.) The first I must admit I'm a bit stumped on, though I feel like I should know it, but I'm going to guess Betjeman because it seems a bit like him to me. I could be completely and totally off my rocker for those two though and most likely am.

And how much do I love that you wrote poetry about the ODI yesterday? <3 Lovely, dearest.

(And I blame you entirely that I now have a cricketing icon. *G* Also, without you I'd have no idea what eggs-and-bacon neckties are. *g* Oh, the dear MCC...)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 26th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Not Eliot.

And if the first be the verse (ahem) of Sir John, who might you expect to second him?
noeon From: noeon Date: June 26th, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Companion piece

Should be PL, if we're on game, and sounds right.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 26th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

And so it is.

Full points. I'd thought, actually, that the toad was rather obvious.
noeon From: noeon Date: June 26th, 2010 08:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Kek kek kek kek....

...wait, that's frogs.

Of course, as it's 'Toads' and all.
femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: June 27th, 2010 12:50 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: And so it is.

Sadly, I suppose, I'm not very familiar with Larkin.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 27th, 2010 06:34 am (UTC) (Link)

Tsk, tsk.

You want to remedy that.
17catherines From: 17catherines Date: June 24th, 2010 12:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I have to comment because I am so very delighted by the rhyme of 'lbw' and 'trouble you'.

Sadly, my poetry knowledge is not up to recognising more than Wordsworth. I do recognise the 'I am not yet ??, o hear me', but I don't know where from or what the line is... but the rhythm and shape of it is very familiar.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 26th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

I am not yet born: o hear me.

Is indeed MacNeice as Femme spotted.

Thank you. And keep digging if you like, or simply say you want the key.
noeon From: noeon Date: June 26th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

In sum

Okay, the Betjeman I'm not quite sure. It bears resemblance to 'Death of King George V' but has to be something else.

Larkin, 'Toads': Why should I let the toad work/ Squat on my life?

MacNiece, 'Prayer Before Birth': I am not yet born; o hear me

Wordsworth, 'Daffodils': I wandered lonely as a cloud

And yes, the US is out. Boo.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 27th, 2010 06:38 am (UTC) (Link)

'And, yes, the US [are] out' -

All out? For how many runs?

The cod-Betjeman is simply me being Betjemanic: it's all too easy, to me.

The Larkin-about draws partly on Toads, but not really very closely.

The MacN is bashed together mockery of PBB and a bit of Bagpipe Music.

And the Old Sheep of the Lake District alone is a pretty direct parody of a single and particular poem.
noeon From: noeon Date: June 27th, 2010 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

And England are, as yet, in

For one penalty kick and lot of badly positioned corners and the Ghananian goals were lovely. *sigh* V curious about today. Ghana v Germany was a lovely match up actually and I'm rather fond of how Germany are playing, although I'm not a supporter. I do hope the US's ignominy will inspire England (to heights, not depths).

The scores from Old Trafford are a bit stiff, but not impossible to chase. Did you enjoy your live visitations?

And we do use corporate 'is' in the US. So the US is and England are. Funny distinction. I spose I'll get round to saying 'the US are' eventually, but it's idiomatically switched for us.

I'm glad to know that the Betjeman was Betjemanic, although it follows some of his schemes and not others. It's a particular strain thereof.

And no, not slavishly, but interestingly.

I don't know MacN v well and should improve my (lack of) knowledge.

Wordsworth is rather fun. Also saw a lovely Sargent portrait at Kenwood house yesterday, on the rambling subject of Colonial contributions to the pastoral (and society as well).

wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 27th, 2010 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm yet quacking over Kieswetter's duck.

All comes down to run rate at the end of the day.

And of course ... well: I've never attended a match, even between two village Third XIs, that was not a moment of golden eternity.

Now back to 14th C Milan for me, w cricket anachronistic on my wireless (that last sounds like mock Eliot, actually).
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