Monday, October 25, 2010

Cricket Poetry – Arthur Salway’s cricket poems

Occasionally I Google ‘cricket poetry’ to see if there are other kindred spirits at work. There’s a good cricket poetry blog in Australia, David Fine’s Ashes Poetry and
I also found one arresting site in England. It’s the web site of the English poet Arthur Salway, described as “the website of cricket verse. The poet Arthur Salway shares his insight on the game…” The link is:
The author’s bio states: “Arthur is a retired mathematics teacher living in Hampshire, England. Now aged 71, he played his last mildly competitive match, unknowingly of course, aged 68. He remembers watching Gloucestershire at Bristol as a boy and admiring the strokeplay of Walter Hammond, Charlie Barnett, George Emmett, and the emerging Tom Graveney.”
Arthur also makes a note about his reasons for writing cricket poetry:

[Arthur] sees cricket as an instance of the whole exceeding the sum of the parts and his poems seek to exploit the area of difference. They are essentially for cricketers, drawing on a knowledge of the game, its devotees, participants, and ethos.
Many of the poems were written for team evenings and are presented for your reading due to the insistence of his erstwhile team-mates. Arthur very much hopes that you will enjoy some, if not all, of them.

The website primarily contains Arthur’s cricket poetry, neat action pics of cricket matches as well as videos and games. Arthur writes well. His tools are rhyme and rhythm and he explores various facets of the game, sometimes in great depth. There is a detailed description of a team kit bag:

Our bag is green & made of canvas, strong and leather bound,
Overfilled with kit we’ve purchased, borrowed, begged or found;
Emptied out on summer evenings when it doesn’t rain,
But frankly half the stuff it holds we’ll never use again-
Worn out gloves with pimply rubber stitched up to the knuckles,
Floppy pads with leather straps & little jingly buckles,
All marked ‘Brookfield School’ in pen in prominent positions,
And some with names of other clubs, nicked from the opposition.

Arthur’s poetry is illuminating and witty, with a wide range of poems offered. There are poems on bowling, batting, the scorebook, the cricketer’s appearance, the pavilion, the cricket field, golden moments, and reflections on the game of cricket. Here’s a favourite stanza of mine from ‘The Flick of the Wrist’:

Soccer is won with cultured feet
And rugger with grit and grist;
But when cricket is played the difference is made
By a delicate turn of the wrist.

Like David Fine's "Ashes Poetry", Salway's "Cricket Poetry" is well worth checking out.


  1. This week I received an email from Arthur Salway (typed on his behalf) about the publication of A Tingling Catch. I sent him an email about the book's release:

    Dear Mark,

    Thank you for your email, kind comments & the info sheets. Congratulations on 'A Tingling Catch'; I know nothing similar on English Cricket. I have a bat signed by the N.Z. team of the 1960s. Their signatures have faded away but not the nostalgia. I wish you every success.

    A kindred spirit,
    Arthur Salway

  2. Further to writing this post, I since came across Nick Whittock's cricket poetry blog Ashes/Urn. The link is:
    Nick did a very cool book of cricket poems called "covers" in 2004.

  3. The modem game has fmally denied me
    And fancy fielding utterly defied me.
    I know I've got the expertise a-plenty
    Apart from fielding a-la Twenty 20.
    I've not done bad, I'm 70 goodness knows;
    We have to bring the youngsters in I s'pose.

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