Hooray, it's Playfair Day! (I mention it in this poem from "Momentary Stars".)
CRICKET BAG IN WINTER
It's ancient, stained and one strap's gone
- you'll never use it again, you know.
The pockets hold old bowling marks,
just flattened beer-tops, really,
though one is aluminium with a spike,
made by my elder brother
at Gravesend Art School, 1949.
There's aged tissue, different types -
and don't look closely at the pink protector -
a single bail, a ragged fixture list:
'Postponed, Lost, Abandoned, Rain'.
And one sweat-stained inner batting glove.
I must have scored a few, then.
Occupied the crease, more like.
It's gone, it's history, it's thrown
in the skip ... but to think never,
never more to know that lovely fear
when walking out and taking guard again!
And soon, very soon, when every day
we sniff the air and study the clouds,
when the Playfair Annual is just about
to bloom on the shelves of Smith's,
when buds on the rowan tree
are full and thick as a rainstorm
about to knock on my bedroom window -
let's think again when April's here!