Ashes Poetry - cricket

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David Fine, Ashes poet in residence in Australia 2006-7

England vs Australia.
Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney 2006-2007

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Where it started

I guess it started when Charles Monkhouse said about a milestone between Middleton-by-Youlgreave and Friden in the Peak District, Derbyshire UK 'If the sun's right, you can just catch it.'

It brought to my mind a stunning slip catch during a Test Match between England and Australia at Headingley, which in turn led to my first cricket poem:-

A Sunlit Day near Middleton

Behind the bowler’s arm
at Headingley
towards the end of the last century
the ball took the edge
of Thorpe’s angled blade
to speed past slips.

Still as the dead, almost too late, dead
quick Mark Waugh takes the catch,
a single hand behind his back
turns with the batsman’s glare
to make the miraculous seem easy.

All still, till the batsman walks:
I’ve told you how it happened,
but if you were there
you’d not believe your eyes.

For the better part of a century
or more, a turnpike stone takes guard
on the Friden Road between here and there
in a parish remote to Headingley
to mark other ways to destiny.

It stands a fielder to fields
dead to the world. Stooped,
angled, leaning, ready, nearly
eager as a grave stone
to tell you how the past happened
behind its back.

Well hidden by bushes and grass
(jumpered umpires of time)
You just have to wait
for the sun to catch it
like an edge to the slips.

From this I was asked by the Sites of Meaning project - - to write a poem to be inscribed in a fresh distance marker - literally a literary milestone:-