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After the match is won or conceded

we sip a round of beers in tribute to victory or defeat

see again face of the bowler grimaced in sweat drops

lift of arm, three fingers loving seam

then flight, bounce, cunning from a googly

the wrench, the turn, the thwack of wood on leather


Wood: as she sails towards boundary, hurled from

a shaft of cedar that once clung to careful soil

tended by a dumb gardener, watered, mulched

then beheaded in mid-sapling ardor, skinned, sawed, sanded,

oiled with finest linseed oil, all ready for

the pain of gloved fingers trembling

with the cry of your injured resilience


Leather: we don’t talk about hide that once roamed meadows

don’t remember the sweet chew of heather, fragrance of thistles,

the heaviness of milk in udders, full and distended

the quick tugs of relief, foam in the bucket

then the slaughterer’s knife, the spurt of blood,

skinning, hanging, drying, curing, then cutting and trimming

exactly to regulation size, stitched with twine

from God knows which helpless plant, then packed

with rag or cotton or whatever it is that goes inside

behind those eyes, that grimace


What lingers in the afterglow? 

The smile of a feminine admirer, her mohair cardigan
(no injury or harm done here) beaming up at you

with just a hint of promise


Best of all, a beer with camaraderie, slow drift

of foam down tankard and stories,

always stories, overs counted, runs tallied,

heroes unearthed from their ashes

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© Johnmichael Simon



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