Saturday, November 6, 2010

Kathryn Gilkison’s NZ cricket poem

Today I bought a copy of Kathryn Gilkison’s poetry book, Dear Shelley, written in memory of her daughter Shelley Mather (also the niece of New Zealand poet Bernadette Hall) who died in the London bombings of July 7, 2005. I hadn't come across the collection before but it's of interest to cricket people.
The book contains a poem called ‘Cricket Gang’ and on the back of the book is a photo of her daughter Shelley in a New Zealand cricket shirt. Shelley played indoor cricket and was a cricket lover. The poem states that her cricket team honoured her with ‘a cricket bat guard of honour’ at her funeral (St Mathew-in-the-City, Auckland, July 30, 2005).
Kathryn’s book and the story of her daughter’s life in which cricket played an integral part moved me. My own father and sister were in London the day of the bombings and were unhurt. My heart goes out to Shelley’s family and friends. I’d like to share Kathryn’s poem for Shelley in honour of a fellow cricketer’s life:


Cricket Gang

they stood fast and true
the gang

honoured you
with a cricket bat guard of honour
as Ramon played the pipes

one phone call fits all needs
I simply rang Donna

and “abracadabra”

a multitude of tasks done
they set up the church
  we needed four people
  they gave us forty

they handed out the service order
and ushered people to their seats

they were truly amazing

we had you home
the night before the big event

  they all came
  sat round your coffin
  told stories, laughed, cried,

  the anger was palpable

  that you had been taken
  from them

so much part of their lives
for so long

they looked out for you from the beginning
they were there for you in the end

© Kathryn Gilkison, 2006

(From Dear Shelley, Pukeko Publishing, 2006)

See also Shelley Mather memorial website:


  1. A poet-friend of mine emailed to say: 'I was sad to read the elegy by Kathryn Gilkison, the poet who lost her cricketing daughter in the London bombings. When that event happened, my son was living just up the road from where the bombed bus exploded - and my daughter was about to go on the Underground to King's Cross - she missed the bombs by about half an hour, and rang to tell me that they were both OK. Easy to forget, in those moments of relief, that others were not so lucky.'

  2. I remember my teams of basketball, softball and field hockey - I remember that belief, joy and trust that a team brings. Shelley was honoured by her teammates at the funeral: 'we needed four people / they gave us forty... they looked out for you from the beginning / they were there for you in the end'. Thanks teammates,
    Thanks Kathryn Gilkison, Thanks Mark.