Cover-drive (yeah – a cricket poem!)


JW Jones thunders at me
nostrils flaring, shirt flapping, eyes piercing
in a belligerent onslaught.

JW Jones leaps at me
crashing through the crease with
flailing arms, flying sweat, exploding breath;
finishing empty, bent double –
a redundant musket,
its solitary shot sent into battle.

The red leather fired with venom,
three pounds of wood primed,
two-thirds of a second to react,
one option presents;
the boundary beckons.

The willow arcs through its parabola
assaulting the leather with a deep, rich gunshot;
blade numbed by the hit-and-run impact.

Time stops.

No sound,
no feeling,
no movement,

except the ball screaming fenceward,
its cherry-red epitaph smeared on the bat;
statues in the outfield watch on.

Rob Bailey & Me

The ball soared magnificently
over the tea hut
I watched from my follow-through,
my head snapping skyward –
this was a lesson, a warning;
good balls go for six. 

‘Unlucky Pete,’ they said, grinning,
my fielders, my team,
as I ambled back to my mark
thinking about a pint.
Rob Bailey once more took his guard –
he’d smite me again. 

I ran in all rhythm and steel,
the machine fired up,
hit the pitch, hit the seam, jagged back.
Mr Bailey missed,
looked to the tea hut for the ball
that rattled his stumps. 

After brief elation, first slip
spoke an agonised sigh,
‘He’ll be unbearable now,’
stared at me, almost cried.
‘He’ll be unbearable now…’
“No I won’t,’ I might have lied.


(taken from my book Silence…)


Instant Expert!

I think I have gained, or am gaining, a significant new skill. I am becoming an instant expert. And you know what? This is really useful. I know all about everything.

The immigration debate? Yep, I know all about that. The economy and why it’s not working? Yeah, that too, there’s nothing I don’t know about that, just ask all my friends and colleagues. If you want a history lesson on the causes and potential resolution of conflict in the Middle East look no further – I’m here. Then there’s the recent Australian cricket team’s stunning loss to Pakistan. I know all about the reasons for that capitulation, believe me!

But that’s not all. It has recently come my attention that I am an expert on the ways to transmit Ebola and various other nasty tropical diseases. I can confidently critique your latest novel or film about this too. I know it all. And if it’s the history and causes of such diseases, then I’m your man. In fact you can include banking, ball games, and even brain surgery. Add in art, theatre and comedy too, and I think you get the picture.

One thing that I have noticed is that in addition to my undoubted expertness on everything, I have become quite grumpy. Do being an instant expert on everything and a level of grumpiness go together? You bet they do! And I would know, being an expert in this sort of science. It’s akin to my in-depth knowledge about climate change.

So there it is. Out of the blue, I have become clearly and indisputably, unfailingly, an instant expert. And even more interestingly I am completely self-taught! The magnitude of this achievement astounds even me, and I should know, because I’m an expert on education. Why did I ever go school – what was the point?

I think I need to have a couple of drinks to process all of this information, and be in no doubt, I’ll get some quality brews, because I know all about beer…and wine (or should I say whine?). I’m an expert on it. Of course I would be.

So anyhow, I’ll see you next time.


A Cricket Poem

The Left Arm Bowler’s Joy


The lovely late swerve

of the in-swinger

often brought me joy;

that look of panic

a pitch-length away,

expanding eyes,

futile lunging bat

kinetically committed,

to opening ‘the gate’

allowing free passage

to the stumps beyond.

If only all life


so well.

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