Saturday, 4 April 2009

Those suns of June

Today I bought a copy of John Arlott's book Jack Hobbs: Profile of the Master for 10p in a charity shop. It begins with a poem Arlott wrote in 1952, To John Berry Hobbs on his Seventieth Birthday. The first and last two verses are:

There falls across this one December day
The light, remembered from those suns of June
That you reflected, in the summer play
Of perfect strokes across the afternoon.

The Master: Records prove the title good:
Yet figures fail you, for they cannot say
How many men whose names you never knew
Are proud to tell their sons they saw you play.

They share the sunlight of your summer day
Of thirty years: and they, with you, recall
How, through those well-wrought centuries, your hand
Reshaped the history of bat and ball.

The next time a newspaper reflexively appoints another retiring cricketer to the post of correspondent, or Sky pats itself on the back about the strength of the line-up in the 'comm box' today, feel free to point them this way.

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