Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jack Gallichan’s WWII NZ cricket poem

On Saturday, I wrote about the cricket haiku of Cyril Childs. Here’s another poem that Cyril sent me recently. It is has been published in a book by David McGill as Anon but it is almost certainly written by Jack Gallichan, the editor of the 197-page POW (Prisoner of War) souvenir book, Tiki Times, where the poem also appears. It may not count as a cricket poem as it only mentions cricket in one stanza (‘Willow swinging, wand-like’) but it’s worth including here as it offers a portrait of New Zealanders at war, in this instance a POW camp, where they played cricket to pass the time. Cyril says:

It was written by a NZ POW during WWII, almost certainly in Italy, and is published in David McGill’s book, P.O.W. - The Untold Stories of New Zealanders as Prisoners of War (Mills Publications, Lower Hutt, 1987), and the source is given as “Sergeant Burfield-Mills’ diary”. Burfield-Mills served in the RMT unit of 2NZEF. He was captured and was a POW in Italy until he escaped in late 1943.
  The same poem, with minor alterations appears in Tiki Times - a post-war collection of handmade weekly newspapers created by NZ POWs and posted on a barracks’ wall in E535 Milowitz through the second half of 1944 and early 1945. E535 was a coal-mining POW work camp associated with Stalag VIIIB. The driving force and editor of Tiki Times was Jack Gallichan who is shown as author of the poem. (Gallichan’s brother played cricket for NZ. He was, I think, on the tour to England in 1937.) Gallichan had been a POW in Italy before being transferred to E535, and is likely to have been in the same camp in Italy as Burfield-Mills. My uncle, Cyril Crosland, was in E535 from mid-1943 to January 1945.

Tiki Times is available in some libraries. There is a copy in the Turnbull Library in Wellington and the Hocken Library in Dunedin and Cyril bought a copy on Trade Me recently. Here is the version by Jack Gallichan from Tiki Times:

JACK GALLICHAN (c 1944-45)

Now and Then

Foreign skies that stretch above us,
Foreign soil beneath our feet.
Days we spend in patience waiting
For the joys of civvy street.

Guarded prisoners, while the hours
Slowly gather in the past,
Waiting for the day approaching
When freedom comes to us at last.

Miles unwinding, troopships leaving,
Bluegreen seas in foaming wake.
Drawing near snow-topped Egmont,
Shores where Tasman surges break.

Sunshine by the green sward resting,
Flannels and a match well fought.
Willow swinging, wand-like bringing
Cricket’s graceful, stately sport.

Tight-packed scrummage, forwards heaving,
Rugby fans’ excited roar.
Good clean hooking, back line racing,
Five-eights cutting through to score.

Waiting? No, we don’t mind waiting,
While the slow hours passing by
Lead us on to happy sport time,
Peace time, lads, for you and I.

Cyril notes further: ‘It does typify the New Zealand POW very well - captive, yes; but not defeated, still with spirit.’
Jack Gallichan’s brother was cricketer Norman Gallichan (1907-1969). Don Neely informs me that he was a ‘towering figure for Manawatu in Hawke Cup cricket before WWII’. His Hawke Cup stats were 177 wickets at 11.59 and 1,409 runs with a highest innings of 142 and an average of 32.76. He played one Test for New Zealand on the 1937 tour to England (where he was a late inclusion). Double international and All Black halfback Curly Page captained the team. Gallichan also played for New Zealand against V. Y. Richardson’s Australian XI at Auckland, 1928.
Gallichan was a right-hand batsman who made scores of 30 and 2 in his only Test appearance and he was a six-foot tall left-arm slow bowler. Gallichan’s innings of 30 played a part in New Zealand posting 281 in their First Innings in reply to England’s 358 at Old Trafford (Second Test). Walter Hadlee made 93. Gallichan took 3-99 from his 36 overs in the England First Innings, including the wicket of Wally Hammond clean bowled for 33 and two tail-enders. Jack Cowie also took 10 wickets – the first time a New Zealand bowler had taken 10 wickets in a Test Match. New Zealand still lost by 130 runs after being bowled out in their Second Innings run chase. Walter Hadlee noted in his Foreword to Men in White: ‘..we failed to grasp the opportunity of winning the Old Trafford Test by dropping Freddie Brown four times. That additional batting time allowed the wet pitch to dry out and the off spinner Tom Goddard bowled us out.’
Gallichan had a very useful tour average of 59 wickets at 23.94 from 18 games.

Article © Mark Pirie 2011

(Sources: Email from Cyril Childs; P.O.W. - The Untold Stories of New Zealanders as Prisoners of War by David McGill (Mills Publications, Lower Hutt, 1987); Tiki Times: a souvenir booklet of the camp newspaper for prisoners-of-war who were at E535, Milwitz, Upper Silesia, between July 1944 and January 1945 edited by J. Gallichan; assistant editor, P.R. Earle; art editor, M.B. Wallace (Palmerston North [N.Z.]: Keeling & Mundy, Printers, 1950); email conversation with Don Neely; Wisden Almanack 1970 [Obituaries for 1969]; and Men in White by D.O. Neely, R.P. King and F.K. Payne (Auckland: Moa Publications, 1986))

Michael O'Leary's cricket novel republished

A Tingling Catch contributor Michael O'Leary has just republished two of his novels (including his cricket novel Out of It) as e-books.
His website states: “The books Straight and Out of It were first published by his company Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop in the 1980s. The two novels have maintained a cult status in New Zealand literature for their dada and surrealist techniques."
Both books are available from as Kindle e-books.
Six poems from Michael O'Leary's Out of It appeared in A Tingling Catch.

Out of It by Michael O'Leary
(Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, 2011, new e-book edition)
See also my blog post 'Michael O'Leary's cricket novel to be reprinted' from October last year.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cyril Childs's NZ cricket haiku

The New Zealand poet Cyril Childs is primarily a haiku writer, known both locally and internationally. Like Christchurch haiku poet John O’Connor and others like Joanna Preston, Tony Beyer, the late Bernard Gadd, Patricia (Pat) Prime and Catherine Mair (who instigated the Katikati Haiku Pathway), Childs has done much to nurture the development of haiku and other Japanese forms in New Zealand and has edited national haiku anthologies in 1993 and 1998.
Childs, however, has another string to his haiku bow. He is also an accomplished writer on cricket. A Tingling Catch features several of his cricket songs in haiku form, and he tells me he has more cricket haiku that he has written over the years. Here are some more cricket haiku that Cyril sent me to share with you:


in evening cool
when the players have gone
           tree shadows
                                        (Presence, #20, p. 29)

signalling start of play –
   the umpire's
      crooked finger
                                        (Presence, #20, p. 29)

crisply hit
the hook to square leg
disarrays the umpire
                                         (Presence, #20, p. 29)

emptying field
   the old umpire winces
      as he draws the stumps
                                          (Presence, #20, p. 29)

summer evening
   the old umpire's shadow
      leads him from the field
                                           (Presence, #17, p. 13)

backyard cricket
   Dad and I pick up
      the kitchen window
                                           (Kokako, forthcoming)

Poems © Cyril Childs

Another significant haiku by Cyril is not in the haiku given above but is in his moving chapbook, Beyond the Paper Lanterns, written as a diary of his wife Vivienne’s nine-year journey with cancer. Vivienne passed away in June 1997. In 2000, Cyril gave me a signed copy of the book to review for JAAM magazine that I was editing. That year my own mother died from the disease. The book had special meaning for me and perhaps for others whose family members had been claimed by cancer.


I watch the cricket –
the honey liquid drains
from your side

© Cyril Childs 2000

The haiku was written after Vivienne, suffering from pleural effusion, had fluid drained from her side. The haiku is reminiscent of another poet’s poem from A Tingling Catch:


My Elderly Father Watches Television

How can he sit there enjoying the cricket
when there’s death to think about?

© Geoff Cochrane, 1999

Both poems share a similar idea: that we find something pleasurable to immerse ourselves in even at the most terrifying and painful moments in our lives. The immanence of death approaches us and yet we find some comfort still in our daily pleasures. Later in the book, Cyril describes how his wife comes home from hospital to watch the 1997 Super 12 rugby final. Sporting events take on that special importance in our lives, they help distract and take some of our pain away.

Article © Mark Pirie 2011

(Sources: Email conversations with Cyril Childs; Beyond the Paper Lanterns – a journey with cancer by Cyril Childs (Lower Hutt: Paper Lantern Press, 2000)

Beyond the Paper Lanterns
by Cyril Childs
(Paper Lantern Press, 2000)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Christchurch quake

I'd like to offer my condolences to those friends and their families affected by the Christchurch quake on Tuesday. My own family and relations are safe. I was in Christchurch 3 weeks ago for a family funeral. It is shocking and saddening to see the impact of the latest quake on communities there.
NZ Cricket's HQ is in Christchurch and sustained damage to its office. I am thinking also of NZ Cricket's employees and of course Black Caps players at the World Cup who have houses and families in Christchurch.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mark Pirie's World Cup poem

This week I was excited by the World Cup opening. It's a sign of the importance of cricket to newer Test nations like Bangladesh. Well done Bangladesh. Let's hope for an inspiring World Cup with some good cricket played by all 14 teams. Here's a poem I wrote about the opening ceremony:


World Cup Opening

The world cup came to Dhaka
and received a surprise: this is where
passion and soul meets cricket.

25,000 seated fans inside the stadium
enjoyed the ceremony but out on
the streets, locals partied with vuvuzelas,

chanting, waving, and beating drums, and
journos mused that what was occurring
was something they’d not experience before:

laser shows, an abseiling cricket match,
Bollywood music and Bryan Adams,
dancer, singers, local legends and more.

Then one by one, 14 captains arrived
in decorative rickshaws and applause
thundered for the Bangladesh skipper.

The world cup had come to Dhaka
and received a surprise: this is where
passion and soul meets cricket.

Poem © Mark Pirie 2011

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

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Tingling Catch in NZ Cricket Museum Newsletter

A Tingling Catch was featured in the Summer/Autumn 2010/11 Newsletter from the New Zealand Cricket Museum. The cover has a nice pic of Brendon McCullum playing a graceful leg side shot.
Here's the link to the pdf that you can download for free from NZ Cricket's website:

Thanks to David Mealing, Curator of the New Zealand Cricket Museum, for this.

See also my related blog posts: 'David Mealing's Edible XI' and 'David Mealing's French Artists Cricket XI'.

New Zealand Cricket Museum
Summer/Autumn Newsletter 2010/11

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mark Pirie’s new poem Uncle Warwick

This week I flew down to Christchurch for my uncle’s farewell service. My uncle, Warwick Goode (1931-2011), shared a cricket interest with me. He was an accountant and treasurer. Before he retired, he and his friends at the Canterbury University staff club used to follow cricket. I wrote the following poem as a tribute to him that I read at the service at St Christopher’s Anglican Church, Christchurch, Wednesday 3 February 2011:


Uncle Warwick

I was the quiet boy you took
to the car show that day
in Christchurch. We walked
through the aisles of old cars,
their panels glinting bright and
colourful, and I wanted to
drive one. You said, “No,
but maybe when you’re older.”

I was the quiet boy who came
round to your place and who
shared your philatelic interest.
You gave me my first stamp
album and started me off in
collecting every stamp I could
find. My pages grew, filled with
places of the world, exotic or local.

I was the quiet boy who shared
your cricket interest, with stories
you told of the university club,
and your friends who filled their time
with a game or two. Now I’m no longer
the quiet boy and, yes, I drive a car,
and sometimes I still cut stamps
from envelopes remembering you.

Poem © Mark Pirie 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Summer Reads: Brendon McCullum: Inside Twenty20

Review by Mark Pirie of Brendon McCullum: Inside Twenty20 with Dylan Cleaver, Hodder Moa, 2010, RRP $29.99. Foreword by Ricky Ponting.

During the 2002/03 season, I was playing a 2-day match for Hutt District 2Bs at Wainuiomata’s Richard Prowse Park. It ended early with us annihilated by an innings after a half hour on the second Saturday as 2-day club games sometimes can. The two teams then wondered what to do? Head for a shower at home, then back to the clubrooms later in the afternoon, or maybe start a new game, 20 overs each, with 10 players getting 2 overs to bowl each? We chose the latter option and started a fun hit-out inspired by Martin Crowe’s Cricket Max and playing effectively what is now termed ‘Twenty20’.
That in mind, my initial thoughts on our friendly ‘Twenty20’ were positive but I guess I hadn’t seen it as anything more than a bit of fun, not to be taken too seriously. That’s why Brendon McCullum and Dylan Cleaver’s new book on the real Twenty20 phenomenon is a ground-breaking and timely release. It’s one of the first books to dig deep into Twenty20 at a national and international level. McCullum himself has been a trail-blazer making a world record 158 for Kolkata Knight Riders and has helped develop and improvise his shot techniques, most notably with the introduction of Tillakaratne Dilshan’s scoop shot.
It’s a very rewarding book. Dylan Cleaver, Heath Mills, Black Caps players and other officials along with newspaper quotations from journalists interject throughout McCullum’s discussions with handy match facts, controversial quotes and important Twenty20 trivia, while Cleaver himself presents a history of the Twenty20 format in his introduction. Australian great Ricky Ponting also chips in with a foreword. Cleaver, a well-known sports journalist, has done cricket followers a favour here by treating the new phenomenon in cricket as something to be looked at more closely and with a degree of seriousness. For those who’ve dismissed Twenty20 as being too radical a departure from the purist’s game of Test cricket, it certainly is an eye opener on the new form of the game. Twenty20 has helped revitalize the sport, bringing new crowds into the world’s stadiums, offering financial wealth and security to the players and their families, and finding innovative ways of playing in terms of bowling, fielding and batting.
Some of the highlights are McCullum talking about his world record knock of 158 off 73 balls for Kolkata against Bangalore in the IPL 2007 opener. McCullum notes that his form in the nets prior to the innings was abysmal. Even he hadn’t dreamed of coming out and playing the innings of a lifetime to kick start the money-rich IPL. The photos of McCullum in a gold helmet and gold batting pads are stunning. If IPL is all about entertainment, it certainly looks futuristic from a cosmetic point of view.
The rest of the book covers various aspects of Twenty20. There is a handy chapter on McCullum’s shot techniques in Twenty 20: the Dilshan scoop, the slog sweep, the slap, the paddle, the Pietersen switch-hits are all discussed. As a kid in Junior cricket for Onslow I used to bat one over right-handed then the next over left-handed. The adult umpire eventually told me I could only bat one way; it was unfair for the bowlers, so I chose to bat right-handed. The irony is that Twenty20 makes batting both ways now possible. If I were a kid now, I’d love to play Twenty20 cricket. There’s an excellent series of photos showing how McCullum plays each shot. For players wanting to learn some of the techniques needed in Twenty20 it is indispensable information.
Elsewhere McCullum discusses the World Twenty20 competitions, his two seasons at Kolkata Knight Riders, including his 2008 season as captain where he displaced Sourav Ganguly, the Prince of Kolkata, as leader of the team. There are chapters on ‘Club Vs Country’, McCullum being stripped of the Black Caps’ vice-captaincy, a chapter on Otago’s run to the Champions League and his ripple-stirring time with New South Wales as well as a chapter where McCullum selects his world Twenty20 XI.
Guided by McCullum’s modest, honest and well-judged reflections on his strengths and weaknesses in the game, insights into how Twenty20 has altered the cricket world along with Cleaver’s reliable research and support material, this book is well worth having. I’d recommend it to all cricket fans interested in finding out more about the game's newest departure. Brendon McCullum: Inside Twenty20 is an essential read.

Review © Mark Pirie 2011

Brendon McCullum: Inside Twenty20
with Dylan Cleaver (Hodder Moa, 2010)