Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mark Pirie’s new cricket poem Merv Wallace

Last year I wrote a review of Merv Wallace: A Cricket Master by Joseph Romanos. It’s a fine book and I’ve added it to my List of Favourite Cricket Books down the side of this blog.
I also wrote a poem based on the book and Joseph’s research in tribute to his excellent work at bringing Merv’s life back into focus and reassessing his standing in NZ cricket.
The poem has just been published in Poetry NZ 44, ‘New Zealand’s foremost poetry magazine’:


Merv Wallace: A Cricket Master

For Joseph Romanos

At Lord’s, 1937, a young
man with a silver fern across
his cap, looks to leg and drop-kicks
Hedley Verity up into the stands,
then walks down and apologises
to his captain. His name
may not be remembered now,
but he counts among our greats.

On the’37 and ’49 tours
of England, he was among
our best bats, and he’s still among
our best bats ever. Like all
the greats, he timed the ball
superbly, hit hard, had sound technique,
footwork, played an array of strokes,
and was severe on anything loose.

It made sense, after play ended,
that he was to influence so
many in New Zealand cricket, first
as selector then as coach. Like Hobbs
(in England), he kept a profile in
a sports shop. In Auckland, he was
always helpful, dishing out advice:
generous, sincere, ever-loving of cricket.

Poem © Mark Pirie 2012

(From Poetry NZ 44, March 2012)

The latest issue of Poetry NZ features emerging writer Maris O’Rourke and a high quality selection of poets, guest edited by Auckland poet Siobhan Harvey. More on the magazine and how to subscribe is at:

(Poem source: Merv Wallace: A Cricket Master by Joseph Romanos, Joel Publishing, 2000)

Poetry NZ 44, guest edited by Siobhan Harvey

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