The laws of cricket rewritten for the fairy world
Batsmen may fly, or even run, after striking the ball, but must never proceed in a straight line.
Wickets are to be baked of gingerbread, with sticky marshmallow bails.
Removing the bails without one purple glove and one paisley will result in the word Nelson being tattooed in orange on one's hand.
(The word will be eighty-seven if the wicketkeeper is an Australian, or a Gnome of the Golden Sledge.)
This process is magical, which is not, by any means, the equivalent of painless.
A second infringement of bail removal will result in a fifty per cent reduction in the need for gloves of any hue.
If this should occur, the severed hand will float into the ether, waving farewell to the game it loved like a wife.
The extremity will, despite these wam feelings, be cold as a witch's tit after she is sliced up by the woodsman who mistook her for a ravening wolf, that same long clawed grin of a wolf who ate the little pinafored and aproned crimson girl who carried marshmallow and gingerbread in her modest yet surprisingly spacious basket, and who was a Test umpire, setting out from Grandmother's House for the MCG, about to catch a tram made of unicorn's horn (freely donated), and human skin (not given so willingly), which skin forms the billowing sails by which the tram wends its windy way towards the Heaving Cauldron of Doom.
That sentence demonstrates how one must run between wickets; all curls and memory and overlaps.
All shoes must be red.
All whites silver.
All pirates cockatooed and all cats Cheshired.
Float the ball down towards the batsman.
If the delivery is sound, it will transform into an ant, which will nibble delicately at the wicket and run off towards the nest hidden in the Ladies Stand carrying a crumb.
In a thousand years a wicket will collapse upon itself, and the bowler may ask Kazam?
If a no-ball is called by the little crimson girl (who was eventually freed by that unseemly, eager woodsman, and managed to catch the tram) the ball will become a bear and will chew off the leg of the bowler.
The bear is to be addressed as Sir Shane.
The little crimson girl may call Light.
The little crimson girl may call Darkness.
The little crimson girl may consult with the Square Leg Umpire, who holds the bearable limbs of all shapes, and the Most Remarkable Key.
If she says Open, he will squat in the middle of the pitch, which is one chain in length (no, really) and insert the MRK into the keyhole, which only he and the little crimson girl can see, and turn it anti-clockwise.
The door will open, and in must walk the two batsmen, the players in the field (including the bowler and the wicketkeeper, regardless of the total number of remaining limbs) the rest of the batting team who must come out from the pavilion with some inarguable Ladies and the two twelfth men, and, of course, the bear.
He will then close the door, pocket the Key, spread the rug borrowed from grandma, and he and the little crimson girl will picnic upon gingerbread and marshmallows and listen to the pleasantly muffled screams.
They shall consult the book of Wisdom, which will record how Sir Shane took at least twenty-two wickets for none, just as it has always been.
Then they must nap, and live happily ever after.
All the ships of the world
Take the bottled nostalgia
of the good old days of the sea
that neat hermetic ship
and aim it towards that hull
the hull of the already splintered ship
going down into Mediterranean,
or Indian or Pacific oceans
feeding the sea with the poor
and the many Titanics to come
caught upon icebergs shed
by heated, flatulent greed
(I foresee a headline;
Paddington comes to Scotland!
as polar bear drifts on sudden iceship
and we try to wrap the fishbreath killer
in the safe coat of cute lost teddy)
and of course, let's recall the slaves
stacked like cotton in holds
drowning for commerce
below ships just like this bottled excellence
and fish strip-mined from the sea
and whales joined to ships by explosive pain
or the cattle sent around the world —
not the same as slaves, but
surely, achingly, bad enough.
Yes, perhaps in heaven,
we'll all feel as if we're on a yacht
say Malcolm Turnbull on his yacht,
(assuming he has one;
call that hullbilly cliché)
and we stride the deck in the world's
very best boat shoes
(not that we'll need shoes)
executing a very neat turn
(which is probably called
on that sleek harbour
deep and blue as history
but we will no longer know history —
and we won't miss it then at all.
Skilfully piloted into bliss
we'll all be there; the drowned,
those just a little miffed by the current
seemingly tideless dispensation.
But until that moment of the salty perhaps
I take the careful ship, with its
perfect sails of complacence
and smash it on the itchy, wormy hull;
this always historical hull,
barnacled with narrative passage.
Queen of these few untidy words
I smash the ship in the bottle;
(all well-crafted ignorance and rope
and look dear how accurate,
down to the kitsch mini-anchor
carefully glued to the glass jar)
onto the hull of this most unpleasant poem.
I christen you All The Ships of the World.
Go occupy their business in great waters.
P.S. Cottier blogs at pscottier.com, lives in Canberra, and hopes to be reincarnated as Lord Byron.