Saturday, December 24, 2011

Vaughan Rapatahana’s NZ cricket poem

Recently I had a poem published in Enamel 3, a Wellington literary journal edited and produced by local poet Emma Barnes. This particular issue is the last of a short-lived but well-admired journal, and inside there was also a cricket-related poem by New Zealand poet Vaughan Rapatahana.
I asked Vaughan if I could include it on the Tingling Catch archive, and here it now is. Vaughan’s poem is not so much about cricket but has cricket forming the backdrop to a teenage experience and discovery of first love. It would very much fit into the ‘Social Members’ section of A Tingling Catch:


14 in ‘68

I   came   into   love

b   e   y   o   n   d

our white-picket fence,
those     diffident daffodils,
plastic raincoats’
close cling
spring squall.

b   a   c   k                    then
Bartlett bowled so speeeeeeeedy
it seamed
s     l       o     w        m     o     t     i     o     n
Subramanya slumped forward - vanquished
well-after his wicket was.

the Sun
obfuscated itself
behind surly cloud
all Aotearoa
in ignorant innocence.

your paua-shell eyes
shot me
as I lurked my way home
from college.

14 in ’68,

something                     b    e    y    o    n    d
schoolboy crush
crashed me
into the asperity

New Zealand
never seemed


Poem © Vaughan Rapatahana 2011

(From Enamel 3, 2011)

Vaughan Rapatahana is a Hong Kong-based New Zealand poet. He has recently published a collection of his poetry through Proverse Publishing and a second collection through Kilmog Press in Dunedin. Of his own cricket recollections of 1968, Vaughan writes: “I remember my mother ‘taking’ me out of school in 1968 (Aorere College, Papatoetoe, Manukau, Auckland, where [poet] David Eggleton was my classmate and mate per se, and Gary Troup was in same form) to see Dick Motz and Gary Bartlett bowling - Graham Dowling was there too as I recall. & Victor Pollard. Nawab of Pataudi was Captain. EAS Prasanna, Venkataraman Subramanya, Chandrakant Borde & Bishan Bedi were among those who played for India. Bartlett ran in from the boundary.”

(Note: The match mentioned is NZ v India, Test Match, 7-12 March 1968, Eden Park, Auckland. India won by 272 runs. Source: Cricket Archive.)

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