There are many kinds of love in this world; romantic love, love for your family, passion for religion or ideals, love of justice and truth – to name but a few. But I’m sure none of you would disagree that the greatest love there is must be the love between a cricket bat and ball, as expressed most movingly in this beautiful poem.
Love in the Meadow.
“My love is red as a damask rose,
And lovers true are we,
Though ever I strive to belabour her,
And she to outwit me;
And yet alone we pine and moan,
We cannot rejoice at all,
For what is a ball without a bat,
Or a bat without a ball?
“We never embrace but we often kiss,
We only meet to part;
The farther away I speed my love,
The gladder I am at heart;
And glad is she to torture me,
Gladder to see me fall,
Yet great is the love of the ball for the bat
And the love of the bat for the ball!
“Her skin is rough as a Ribston red,
Her heart is O so hard!
And enemy-like she plots and plans
To catch me off my guard;
Yet she is the only love I love,
And I am her all in all;
And stranger thing on the earth’s not seen
Than the marriage of bat and ball.”
Wonderful isn’t it? If you read that without tears in your eyes you’re a hardier soul than I.
(Poem from ‘Willow & Leather: A Book of Praise’ by E.V. Lucas 1898. This and other such emotional tomes are available at the MCC library).