Nought For Too Many

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ray miller
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Nought For Too Many

Post by ray miller » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:01 pm

Somewhere between deep point and gully
was the best place to catch
the whole of the innings.
The sun slowly spinning over mid-wicket,
a middle-aged seamer trying to elicit
a wafer of swing from a ball without polish.
The immoderate language
at the umpire’s refusal to give a decision,
that was pitched to fall short
of the ears of his missus sat in the pavilion
filling in boxes with fours and sixes.

There were gaps in the covers
between oaks and elders,
you could spy the top windows
of the nearby asylum,
always a temptation
to a brawny armed batsman
who’d not got his eye in.
Time was he’d have sent down
a slower delivery, to sneak
underneath the staunchest of defences,
but by those days no batsman
could fathom the difference
and one more broken pane
cut the cricket club’s savings.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

1lankest
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Re: Nought For Too Many

Post by 1lankest » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:34 pm

Great timing for a cricket poem, Ray!
Like it a lot. A touch of Larkin here, what with the cricket and the asylum.
And the August bank holiday feel of it, deftly wrought as ever.
Liked the pun in the opening sentence. Set the tone for the rest and opens up the possibility of further duel readings in the readers mind.

‘The immoderate language
at the umpire’s refusal to give a decision,’

I recon there was a bit of that at Headingley today, Aussie-flavour.

Luke

David
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Re: Nought For Too Many

Post by David » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:19 pm

Reading the title I was definitely expecting a political allegory of some sort. Actually, I'm not sure it isn't one - perhaps Boris-related - but I could be wrong.

Even if it's only about cricket, it is - as Luke says - a good one. We definitely seem to be in Roy Harper country here.

But I still don't believe it's only about cricket. I will unearth its hidden meaning! Or go mad trying.

Cheers

David

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JJWilliamson
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Re: Nought For Too Many

Post by JJWilliamson » Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:54 am

Interestingly, I also thought of Roy Harper and the old cricketer, and I read this one literally. Please don't say there's a Brexit link.

The pleasures of cricket escape me, unless you're batting, bowling or keeping wicket. Nevertheless, I always seem to find
pleasure in cricketing metaphors, songs and poems. Funny that. This was no exception.

The asylum window and the brawny batsman brought a smile to my face. I remember how some of the boys from a local club
round here used to aim at the scoreboard window, often with some success.

Enjoyed

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

ray miller
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Re: Nought For Too Many

Post by ray miller » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:28 am

Thanks, fellas.
Luke, I don't watch cricket very often, though I did watch most of the World Cup Final. I used to like playing, though, mostly mental hospital teams.
David, just about cricket, I'm afraid, though a middle-aged seamer trying to elicit/ a wafer of swing from a ball without polish. might describe Johnson's Brexit experience.
JJ. I read Geoff's comment on the Roy Harper song, when he pondered how an old bowler's retirement might be marked. It was slightly influenced by that.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

NotQuiteSure
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Re: Nought For Too Many

Post by NotQuiteSure » Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:19 pm

.
Hi ray,
the opening verse is excellent (though I'm not sure about 'wafer'. a whisker or one more ounce ?)
but it seems to fall apart at the end of S2.

S2.
L6 - maybe 'for' for 'to'?
L7 - should it be 'just' for 'not'?
L8 - there's a little stumble, for me, with 'he' (the bowler) after 'his eye' (the batsman, L7).
L10 - do you need 'of'? (Wondered about a 'well disguised yorker')
Just a thought:
Time was he’d have sent down
a slower delivery, to slip
underneath the staunchest defence,
but these days there's none
can discern the difference,
and one more lost ball
breaks the club's meagre kitty.


Regards, Not


.

ray miller
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Re: Nought For Too Many

Post by ray miller » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:21 am

Thanks, Not. I've had both "not" and "just". I think just is best.
I thought about Yorker, too, but they aren't generally slower balls.
"Kitty" I may well use.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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