Saturday, December 4, 2010

Simon Boyce’s NZ cricket poems

One of the reasons for starting the Tingling Catch blog was to build an online archive of NZ cricket poems. Recently, I came across two cricket-related poems by Simon Boyce.
One of Simon’s poems is about his playing days (schoolboy cricket and senior club cricket) and the second poem is an elegy for a school friend and player of cricket. As the second poem only mentions ‘cricket bat’ in the last line, it may not count as a fully-fledged cricket poem but I’ll include it here for your interest. It’s a stirring elegy.
Upper Hutt editor, singer/songwriter and poet Tony Chad first published both of these poems. Tony Chad has been the long-serving editor of the Hutt Valley poetry magazine Valley Micropress since the 1990s and has organised the Upper Hutt Poetry Day readings for a number of years now. I was invited to read at two of them in 2004 and 2005. He has given many poets from New Zealand and overseas coverage during that time. I was pleased to see that Index New Zealand have fully indexed Valley Micropress. The saddle-stapled photocopied chapbook is a valuable resource for New Zealand poetry.
Here are Simon’s two poems and some biographical information:


Cricketing Capers, Old Boy

Many a time we’d be up for a contest
against the familiar Upper Hutt rivals.
But for some reason still unknown
my own form was awful away from home.

When a young Upper Hutt College team
trekked down the valley to face us
Hutt Valley High School fourth formers
I’d got my best ever figures (8 for not many).

On a return match after the 8-wicket haul
I bowled well for just two wickets
but my batting and fielding then got worse
against all the rival Upper Hutt colleges.

Scores of naught and four at St Pats
more ducks at Heretaunga
many matches at Whakatiki St
always featured my dropped catches.

Following a few post-school games
I retired after opening for Eastbourne
my batting average all the better
for not playing Upper Hutt anymore.

It was way back in the 1980s
and somehow I miss the contests.
But those Upper Hutt cricket old boys
also have a bit to thank me for.

(from The Poetry Olympics, ed. Tony Chad (Upper Hutt: Upper Hutt City Council, 2008)

Aspiring Guide

Just names under a photo of the
Cross Country team of 1984.

But you must have been quick
in your first year at our school,
Dave Hiddleston,
to be awarded a Blue.

Couldn’t traverse Virginia Lake,
I might have passed you in the
race up to Wellington College,
but we were running as a team.

You left after that year, for
bigger and brighter things,
a deep-felt ambition must have
created the aspiring mountaineer.

Not Just the Southern Alps,
but the pinnacle, Everest,
the 15th Kiwi to climb it,
and you guiding two others.

You were on TV news twice.
Alive, and talking of the risks;
then at the funeral your Summer
objects surfboard, old cricket bat.

(from Valley Micropress, Volume 8, Issue 5, June 2005)

Poems © Simon Boyce

Simon Boyce is a Wellington poet and publisher. He played club cricket briefly for Eastbourne Cricket Club. He has his own self-publishing venture, Wayside Press, in which he does very complex tomes on political history and government borrowing, with some photo-essays for light relief. He has a BA (Hons) from Victoria University of Wellington and PGDip Arts and MA from Massey University, and he has just finished the Diploma in Publishing (online) at Whitireia Polytechnic. Simon also says he has ‘a very large record collection (70s rock dinosaur) and growing NZ book collection, including NZ poets Brian Turner and Bill Sewell's The Ballad of 51 [about the 1951 waterfront lockout].’

Thanks Simon for sharing your poems

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