Saturday, February 12, 2011

R G Park’s NZ cricket poem

A cricket-related poem I came across recently in the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa is by the late Waikanae writer and humourist R G (Ralph George) Park, born 1911.
Park was a physician who retired to Waikanae after 40 years practice. For a number of years he contributed a weekly poem that he termed a “Parking Metre” to the New Zealand Listener in the 1950s and 60s.
In his collection Parking Metres that ran into several editions, he wrote one cricket-related poem. I’ll share it with you here:


Henry V

“I know thee not, old man” he said
On coronation day.
Riotous living isn’t cricket.
Reign stops play.

(From Parking Metres, Original Books, 1995)

While not being explicitly a cricket poem, the comic piece shows how cricket concepts have made their way into our thinking. Here it is used to consider the reign of Henry V and neatly sums it up.
Besides several editions of Parking Metres, Park’s other collections (privately published as pamphlets) include Short stories and Poems 1957-59, Limerigmarole (a collection of limericks) and Medley as well as health publications, an autobiography Historical Outburst (2003), and a non-fiction work, Examples : a thesaurus of allusions, literary, legendary and historic (1997). Park is unusual in New Zealand poetry for continuing to publish his work with vigour well into his 90s.

Article © Mark Pirie 2011

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