Thursday, 19 August 2010

Ritual on the 5th day

they speak of the batsman's 'long day at the crease' but consider the wicket-keeper's lot, out there all the time...

The ritual begins
when I crouch behind the stumps
in my padded pimply gauntlets
which smell of sweat and Blanco white and
I gaze into a glimmering light
and clap my padded hands three times
and shuffle my white clad flanneled bum
slowly from side to side three times
and slowly loll my neck
from side to side three times
and raise my left hand equally slowly
to my brow to squint and blink, yes three times
but slowly
and then lower my eyes to peer
from within my sweated helmet's cage
to the stripe of cracked and peeling earth
where a dreary crow ambles and pecks
and where the dust
at the batsman's bat slowly whirls
where he dabs the earth
more times than three
perhaps thirty-three
and twice more I raise my forlorn gaze
unto the sun
and silently pray three times
that the rains will come...



  1. clever to use no punctuation Gwilym - there is a certain ritual to all these cricket things - I am not a fan - always wonder what Martians would think if they landed in the middle of a game.

  2. I think the no puntuation (or minimal - there's one strategic comma) comes from recent reading of the American poet laureate W S Merwin. I suppose the Martians would think the orange segments brought into the middle and offered around were a religious sacrifice.

  3. I love the rhythm and the repetition, in a stream of conciousness, it captures the wandering feeling the mind has when it is waiting.
    difficult and tightly written.

  4. I'm really pleased that you said all that Dianne. It's made my day.


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