Trapdoor

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The light comes down,
And in some places, Champagne,
Champions Champagne is uncorked.

There is joy.

The sun will rise tomorrow,
Once more and once alone,
At Taunton,
At Birmingham,
And maybe only once again.

The trapdoor beckoning,
The day of reckoning,
The sun will rise, then set.

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On the last game of the season.

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It’s the last game of the season,
Four more days left in the sun,
Either unbearable pressure,
Or chilled out, mild, fun.

It’s the last game of the season,
As the nights are drawing in,
So the games are played in twilight,
If there’s either side can win.

It’s the last game of the season,
For the champions elect,
They could still cause relegation,
Should they show a slight neglect.

It’s the last game of the season,
And a final Ashes chance,
For the batsmen and the bowlers,
Who have cases to advance.

It’s the last game of the season,
And the ending of the year,
As the sun sets not just on championships,
But also on careers.

It’s the last game of the season,
But it’s bloody hard to score,
As the greener bouncy April tracks,
Now look like matted straw.

It’s the last game of the season,
And there’s still much in the air,
The radio keeps us informed,
There’s always someone there.

It’s the last game of the season,
And there’s records to be broke,
The most of these, the first of those,
To beat some other bloke.

It’s the last game of the season,
For the players and the fans,
There’ll be children in the dressing rooms,
And parents in the stands.

It’s the last game of the season,
It’s the summer’s last hurrah,
Then we’re left with bloody football,
Like we always bloody are.

The Ghost

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Reflections on a catch in the deep that is disallowed after a video replay.

You do not notice the ghost at first,
For he is still, with both eyes drilled forward.
Only when he steps, one, nearly two,
is he seen.
His arms rush through in a blur before the dull crack,
And all eyes leave him again.

His killer adjusts in the deep, his eyes are boring the air,
Hands already set together low
long before, half a second before, the ball gets to him.
He catches, as he is supposed to do.

The ghost, who had once lived, now dies.
They celebrate o’er his demise,
The numbers change,
And everything is set again.

And we watch, again, again,
Were fingers underneath the ball,
Does frame by frame clear up at all,
So did the wicket really fall?
Or did it touch the ground?

Not out the call,
The margin small,
The fingers spread around the ball,
The second wicket didn’t fall,
Cancel now the funeral.

And bat on, now, although you perished,
Your very presence now nightmarish,
The life you gained you have to cherish,
Attack! Attack! Be bold and bearish.