Guest poem submitted by Frank O'Shea, as part of our cricket theme:
(Poem #947) Ballad of a Homeless Bat
The man was going in to bat; The bowler, flushed with joy, Stood waiting to complete his hat;  There came a village boy "Put off your gloves of rubber proof, Unguard each careful shin. The curse has fallen on your roof; Your house has tumbled in." White as his boots the batsman grew; He cast his pads away; His gauntlets to the winds he threw. The Captain cried, "I say, Go in, poor homeless one, and bat, Stem as the nether rock; E'en though that house of yours be flat, You'd better have your knock." "My little home," the batsman wept, "So trim it was and tight; I always had it nicely swept; It had electric light. And is there left no tiny shred Of the whole bag of tricks?" The boy with urchin relish said Laconically, "Nix." "Let me go hence; nay, hold me not." Then loud the Captain cried, "You, you alone can stay the rot; Think, batsman, of the side. Your kindling eye, your stubborn heart Alone can make things good; You would not land us in the cart"; The victim said, "I would." Then spake a man of subtler mould: "A year ago, no more, Yon bowler, haughty man and cold, Had you out leg-before.  Did you not seal a solemn oath To clump him for that crime O'er yon tall tree, or tent, or both? You did. Then now's the time." Up sprang the batsman with a frown, And like a man he spoke: "Let every house come crashing down, The pub dissolve in smoke; I will not guard each careful shin; Give me my bat, no more; With knuckles bared will I go in And larn him leg-before." He seized his trusty bat and went A broken soul was he, But he lammed the blighter o'er the tent, The bounder o'er the tree.
Cricket, good. Here's a real beauty by John Kendal. I know little about him except that he wrote for Punch under the name Dum-Dum and published 11 books of verse. The book from which the following is taken has a date of 1947 and contains the following evocative message "THIS BOOK IS PRODUCED IN COMPLETE CONFORMITY WITH THE AUTHORISED ECONOMY STANDARDS." The book also contains the following author's note: "I have been reproached before now, as one kindly reviewer put it, for not 'making a frank bid as a serious poet.' Why on earth should I? Nothing would make me one - I know that - and, thank goodness, I have had no leanings in that direction. And I remain impenitent." Enjoy. Frank O'Shea. PS. For our American cousins:  hat trick: a wicket taken with each of three successive balls. Extremely rare.  leg-before: a common and often controversial (in the sense of being open to much discussion) way of getting a batsman out. PPS. [thomas adds:] Sheer bloodymindedness is, of course, as good a reason to play cricket as any other.