Category Archives: Poetry

The Greatest Love of All

bat and ball in love

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.

Me at work contemplating the true nature of love.

Me at work contemplating the true nature of love.

(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).

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Filed under Cricket, love, Poetry

This is London – how d’ye like it?

After one year here I still feel like a tourist.

After one year here I still feel like a tourist.

I never fail to be surprised by the unexpected things you find in cricket annuals.   Today in was a poem about London.  This caught my eye as it’s now just over a year since I moved to London to work at Lord’s.  I absolutely love it!  I like the energy, the noise, the architecture, the history, the feeling of being on a film set and (unlike most) I find it really friendly.  The author of the poem was not so impressed.


Houses, churchers, mix”d together;

Streets, unpleasant in all weather;

Prisons, palaces,  contiguous;

Gates – a bridge, the Thames irriguous;

Showy outsides, insides empty;

Bubbles, trades, mechanic arts,

Coaches, Wheelbarrows, and carts;

Warrants, bailiffs, bills unpaid,

Lords of laundresses afraid;

Rogues that nightly shoot at men.

Hangmen, aldermen, and footmen;

Lawyers, poets,  priest, physicians;

Noble, simple – all conditions;

Worth, beneath a thread-bare cover;

Villany, bedaub’d all over;

Women, black, red, fair and grey,

Prudes, and such as never pray;

Handsome, ugly, noisy, still,

Some that will not – some that will;

Many a beau without a shilling,

Many a widow – not unwilling;

Many a bargain, if you strike it:

This is London – how d’ye like it?

I found it in W.Whitham’s List of Cricket Matches 1895.

list of cricket matches

I’m not into poetry and not entirely sure of his meaning, but most of it doesn’t sound very complimentary!  He admits there’s lots going on, which is good I suppose, but he also claims there are nightly shootings and women with loose morals and that all the streets are unpleasant.

I notice the book is from Sheffield, very close to where I grew up.  In my experience there is a lot of distrust of London life in that part of the world.  My Grandma in particular was full of complaints – “it’s dirty, smelly, noisy, full of crime, where all the money goes, over crowded, on the news too much.” (although if it was really full of crime I never understood why she should complain why it was on the news all the time, surely all that crime needed to be reported).  She never actually went to London of course.

Well I like London!  Anyone else have any strong opinions either way?  Have any of you met many ‘willing widows’ here?

Let me know.

Me and my husband being touristy at the Monument

Me and my husband being touristy at the Monument


Filed under Cricket, History, Librarianship, London, Poetry