Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dick Bird's New Zealand cricket poems

As is often the case once an anthology is completed, an editor comes across material that was missed. Recently I bought a collection of poems and writings by New Zealand poet Dick Bird, an emigrant from England, privately published in 1984. I found two more cricket poems amongst his collected newspaper poetry. Here they are for your pleasure:



In these toilsome, troubled times
There are international crimes
Which may cause an Englishman to raise his brow,
Things like famine, fire and food
And revolutions, spilling blood,
These are things he understands and will allow.

But what he cannot tolerate
Is one filled with hate
That he deserves no place upon this earth,
Understanding not the cricket
He mutilates the wicket
By digging into spots of sacred turf.

Such crime is so unreasonable
It’s definitely unseasonable
Without the slightest wit of rhyme or reason
No-one could be that bad
Unless, of course, he’s mad,
I mean to say – this is the cricket season.

Well Bowled, Sir

There was an age in times serene
When cricket on the village green
Was a gentle game, all vicars, tea and tents.
But we’ve left that age behind
And the game today, we find,
Is much more warlike, savage and intense.

Today each bowler must have pace,
He must show he hates the human race,
He must also love the art of bodyline.
So that each express rip-snorter
Will cut off the batsman’s water
Or at least push all his ribs back through his spine.

He must giggle, grin and chuckle
As he sees each batsman buckle,
Be convinced each ball will triumph over bat.
And when his victim’s lying prone,
Just survey each broken bone.
Then smile and quietly ask, “Howzat.”

Poems © Dick Bird

(from Dick Bird’s Writing and Poems, 1984)

Dick Bird (1925-84), was born in Tottenham, London, England, and emigrated to New Zealand in July 1950. He worked for Railways Workshop, Woburn, Lower Hutt, and then moved to Auckland where he was married in 1951. He spent 33 of his 34 New Zealand years working for the Post Office and living in various areas of New Zealand with his wife and children. He published his poetry in a regular newspaper column for a regional (probably North Island) newspaper. His writings were posthumously published by his family as a memorial in 1984 after he died from cancer.

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