Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mark Pirie's new cricket poem Norwood Room

Here's another new poem I wrote recently after visiting the Norwood Room at the Basin Reserve for the NZ Cricket Museum's Christmas party. It was inspiring to be in the room and be able to look closely at the pictures expertly hung on the wall.
The poem is again in the form of a French triolet with repeated verse lines.


Norwood Room

In the Norwood Room, pictures hang;
  Great deeds of art captured.
Cricketers in their prime – well hung.

In the Norwood Room, pictures hang.
  Azhar’s ‘silky elegance’ captured;
Lara, Hadlee, Cairns, Sobers all hung…

In the Norwood Room, pictures hang.
  Great deeds of art captured.

Basin Reserve, Sunday 18 December 2011

Poem © Mark Pirie 2012

Thanks to Joseph Romanos for printing it in The Wellingtonian, 22 March 2012, to coincide with the Black Caps' Test against South Africa.

Cricket Poetry Award 2012 opens

The following press release was emailed to me about the Cricket Poetry Award 2012. You can download entry forms for the Cricket Poetry Award at their website. I'll post here the information on entering it, feel free to circulate the press release:

Entries will be accepted in 2012 from any poet, writer or author who completes their poem in the 12 months leading up to the closing date – 31st August 2012.
The organisers invite poets to write and submit a poem that depicts life in and around the game and sport of cricket, in settings of backyard, street, beach, park, village green or social-cricket. The genre may be narrative, epic, dramatic, satirical, lyrical, elegy or verse fable.
The Cricket Poetry Award will be run in conjunction with the Cricket Art Prize, and the winner will be announced at the Cricket Art Prize opening event – Members Pavilion - Sydney Cricket Ground, 4th Oct 2012.
Please check the particulars supplied on the entry form and ensure that your entry is in accordance with the conditions below.
(1) Each competitor may enter ONE work only. The entry must be the original work of the competitor;
(2) Entries should be posted and e-mailed together with a completed entry form and a non-refundable $20.00 (including GST) handling fee to the Publishers’ Cup Inc by 2012.
Any work not accompanied by payment of $20.00 will not be eligible for the competition. Payment may be made by cheque, money order, postal note to the Publishers’ Cup Inc or Electronic Funds Transfer details: ANZ Bank BSB 012235 A/C 1105 99931 or can be paid using PayPal to the email address: derekz [at] cricketartprize [dot] org
(3) The statutory declaration on the entry form must be completed by the competitor;
(4) The size of the poem must NOT EXCEED 150 words;
(5) Entries must be clearly marked with the artist’s name and address and the title of the work;
(6) Entries will not be accepted unless free of charges. No payment will be made by the organisers for couriers, bank transfer fees or other charges incurred in the delivery of any entry;
(7) Competitors hereby consent to their work being reproduced by the Exhibition Venues and the media in all advertising and publicity inclusive of all electronic / digital or print media for the future promotion of the Cricket Poetry Award;
(8) Sponsors and charities associated with the Publishers’ Cup Inc reserve the right to reproduce the winning entry and all finalists in all Publishers’ Cup Inc publications and publicity inclusive of all electronic/digital or print media;
(9) The Judges’ decision is final and no correspondence shall be entered into.
A $20.00 (incl. GST) fee is payable for the poem entered.
Cricket Poetry Award
Suite 23/53 O’Brien Street

Bondi Beach NSW 2026
To contact us:
E-mail: derekz [at] cricketartprize [dot] org
Phone inside Australia: 0411 572 100
Overseas callers dial: +61 411 572 100 

NZ Cricket Museum’s interactive touch screen opens

The latest issue of the NZ Cricket Museum’s Newsletter for Summer/Autumn 2011/12 is out and contains more information on the opening of the new interactive touch screen sound display.
Curator David Mealing has spent many hours researching old archives for photos of players and broadcasters as well as finding sound recordings and cricket music from YouTube. The project is a testament to his commitment for bringing fresh and innovative displays to the museum. I heartily congratulate him for his fine work over the past year.
There are two photos of me (under Poets) in the mural display printed in the summer newsletter: one (bottom row on the far right) shows me fielding for Wellington Collegians’ Axemen one-day side in the 2007/08 season. These pics are also in the interactive. An article on Glenn Turner’s world record highest percentage of his team’s runs in a first class innings features in the newsletter.
I provided assistance for the museum project by helping contact poets for David. A large number of poems from A Tingling Catch (including my own) have been included and recorded for the touch screen display.
I’m looking forward to testing out the display very soon.

NZ Cricket Museum Newsletter
Summer/Autumn 2011-12
See also my previous blog post: NZ Cricket Museum's Touch Screen Technology

Monday, April 16, 2012

Marie R Randle’s 1887 NZ cricket-related poem

This year a friend Rowan Gibbs produced an excellent bio-bibliography of the early New Zealand and Otago songstress Marie R Randle (1856-1947). Randle is not very well known, seemingly missed by anthologists, but proves to be a fascinating source for biography and for understanding the lives of our early 19th century poets and settlers.
Rowans booklet enticed me to look her up further and read her only published collection, Lilts and Lyrics of New Zealand (1893), introduced by Canterbury cricketer, poet and politician William Pember Reeves. The Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa had a copy of it.
Randle (like Reeves) seems to know about cricket. One of her comic poems An Awkard Manpublished in the Otago Witness, 24 June 1887, under the pseudonym of Witch Elmis a very good portrait of a man growing up in the colony who doesnt quite fit in with the society around him. Naturally, proficiency at cricket (and other sports) is a common forte for young men in the 19th century as much as it is today. The poem remains timeless. Readers can still enjoy it today as much as they did in the 19th century.
Ill share the poem with you here:


The Awkward Man

Ye soft and sympathising hearts, wherever you may be,
That deign to feel for trifling ills and petty misery –
(Compassion of the “tuneful Nine” I shall not dare invite;
My pinions are too feeble far to scar Olympus’ height), –
I pray you listen to my lay, and pity, if you can,
The sorrows of that wretched being styl’d an “awkward man!”

From earliest infancy my limbs were always in the way,
And how I ever learn’d to walk I know not to this day;
For sundry scars, the sight of which would wring a tender heart,
Still testify my sufferings in practising the art.
My nurse, in tears and trembling, would my clumsy movements scan,
And say. “The awkward child is father of the awkward Man!”

My boyhood was a hideous dream – a nightmare of disaster;
At school I always was in scrapes, alike with boys and master.
I smash’d the windows with my ball, I bruis’d my shins at cricket,
The football bounc’d into my face whene’er I tried to kick it.
An evil fate pursu’d me from the time my life began;
It haunts me still. I’m doom’d to live and die an awkward man!

My books were always dog-ear’d, and fam’d for soil and smutch –
The jugs and basins chipp’d and crack’d beneath my magic touch;
The boys, in racing, tripp’d me up and left me in the lurch;
I’d choking fits at dinner-time and sneezing fits in church,
I trod upon my master’s corn with weight of Pickford’s van;
He had no mercy on me; he was not an awkward man!

My riper years have brought me even greater ills than these:
My clumsiness gives dire offence whene’er I try to please;
The cats and dogs of maiden aunts view my approach with dread,
For on their inoffensive tails I’m pretty sure to tread,
’Tis perfect martyrdom to me to hold a lady’s fan;
Its fate is seal’d when in the hands of such an awkward man!

I went last Winter to a ball in pumps and palpitation,
And by my clumsy antics there created a sensation.
By supper-time I had become so nervous and so fluster’d,
I sat upon a pigeon pie and overturn’d the mustard
Into a lady’s satin lap. Imagine, if you can,
The with’ring look of wrath she turn’d upon the awkward man!

My friends are few and far between, and seem to be in fear
Of some explosion taking place whenever I appear.
I’m getting quite a human owl; but stay – ’twill not avail
To tire your patience any more with this lugubrious tale –
So let me make my shuffling bow, and end, as I began,
By asking you to pity – not condemn – the awkward man!

For those interested in finding out more on Randle and her publication history, Rowan has produced a limited edition of 50 copies for sale titled “A Bird of Our Clime”: Otago’s Songstress: Marie R Randle (“Wych Elm”): A Bio-bibliography. Cultural and Political Booklets in Wellington, New Zealand, published the 72-page booklet in A5 format. Price $NZ20.00. You can purchase copies direct from Rowan at

Article © Mark Pirie 2012