Sunday, September 4, 2011

Anne French’s new NZ cricket poem

The latest issue of Poetry NZ, New Zealand’s foremost poetry magazine, arrived in my mailbox this week. It’s available from most independent bookshops in New Zealand such as Unity Books in Wellington.
Issue 43 is another smorgasbord of the best of local poetry writing along with some overseas poets from the US, South Africa, Canada, Australia and Italy. It’s guest edited by Nicholas Reid.
Of particular interest to readers of this blog is a poem by the featured New Zealand poet Anne French that is an elegy for her Aunt using cricket metaphors. French is also a contributor to A Tingling Catch, but I haven’t seen the poem before, so it’s possible it’s a new cricket inspired poem. It’s a moving poem. Many readers with older relatives passing away can relate to it.
I’ll share it with you here:


Aunty Paddy’s Innings

Aunty Paddy died today
after a long innings at the crease.
at 96 not out she could still read
googlies a mile off. Always one
for observing the proprieties,
she wasn’t stumped caught wide
or run out. She hadn’t stepped out
of her crease for about 18 months;
it was no life really, none at all;
but she stayed in, stonewalling,
and her score just kept going up
and up. Her heart ticked on long after
she’d stopped eating, talking, or looking
forward to anything but the walk
back to the pavilion, shadows long
on the grass, and a roar of appreciation
carrying her up out of the ground and on
on through the blue summer afternoon.

Poem © Anne French 2011

(From Poetry NZ 43, September 2011)

More information at Poetry NZ’s website:

Poetry NZ 43 (Puriri Press & Brick Row, 2011)

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