Friday, March 25, 2011
Adrienne Jansen’s NZ cricket poem
Last week, I came across the following poem by
writer Adrienne Jansen. It was in her first collection published by Linzy Forbes’s Inkweed in 2001. Wellington
In A Tingling Catch, I have a whole section of poems about kids playing cricket called ‘Boys’ Songs’. I struggled with the section title ‘boys’ at the time as most people are aware that girls play Junior cricket too. My nephew plays against some mixed teams in his Year Two Milo Kiwi grade in
. Yet, in the course of constructing the anthology, there weren’t any poems about girls playing cricket that I found. I didn’t have time to go through all the school annuals around the country. Perhaps a more detailed search would’ve unearthed some poems about girls playing cricket. So in the end, I only had a section of boys’ poems. Wellington
The following poem by Adrienne Jansen is also about a boy playing cricket, this time in his family home. Often it’s how kids learn early ball skills by practicing wherever they can, sometimes inside the house as the poem humorously observes. Or perhaps just in their imagination. Backyard cricket is probably more common. I love the ending. Presumably it's referring to the "World Series Cricket" ODI of 3 January 1988, when Border was lbw to Hadlee for 3. New Zealand went on to win the exciting match by 1 run at the WACA ground in Perth. I don’t think I’ve seen Australian great Allan Border mentioned before in a
poem. Hadlee, of course, takes the honours: New Zealand
Sunday morning, 1988
Ben is bowling at the Australians
having hit a brilliant century
right down the hall.
Paul is riding his yellow bike
straight down the pitch
and over all the spectators.
I am trying to listen to
Spanish dances, played on guitar
by a Cuban called barrueco.
According to the cover
he has a curved black beard
and eyes which say
he lives through doors
of brilliant red and long deep shadow,
and perhaps, for just one moment,
I could join him there.
But Ben is back, to show exactly
how Hadlee bowled out Border.
Poem © Adrienne Jansen 2001
(From a stone seat and a shadow tree by Adrienne Jansen, Inkweed, 2001)
Adrienne Jansen is a
writer. She teaches on the Whitireia Creative Writing Programme and also works at Te Papa as a writer. Wellington
Thanks Linzy and Adrienne for permission to use.