We Are Eleven by C.J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
[The Victorian Eleven arrived yesterday.  The team consists of: - J. Ainsley, W. Carkeek, E. V. Carroll, F. B. Collins, F. Laver, F. Vaughan, P. McAllister, V. Ransford, T. Rush, J. Saunders, E. Goss, and G. Hazlitt. - Cricket Item]

            A cricketer,
That lightly goes and comes,
   And fields at risk of life and limb,
What should he know of sums?

I met a little "flannelled fool."
   He was eight, not out, he said;
And he was looking far from cool --
  His little face was red.

He had a lively, sporting air,
   And he was whitely clad;
His arms were bare, yes, very bare;
   His necktie made me mad.

"Batsmen and men that bowl the ball,
   How many may you be?"
"How many?" he said.  "Eleven in all."
   And wondering looked at me.

"And who are they? I pray you tell."
   He said, "Eleven are we.
Down at the match you'd know us well
   If you would go and see.

"Two of us in the longfield stand.
   Then there is Vaughan and Rush,
F. Laver, Collins, Ransford, and
   J. Ainsley," did he gush.

"Besides, there are four more of us,
   Whose names I don't recall;
But, if you must kick up a fuss
   I'll recollect 'em all."

"You say that two in longfield dwell,
   And then ten more we see;
Yet you're eleven?  I pray you tell,
   Sweet sir, how that may be."

Then did the little man reply,
   "Eleven in all are we,
Most of us at short slips try
   When we play 'off-theory.'"

"You run about, my little chap,
   Your limbs are very fit;
Unless you fear some grave mishap,
   Just try to think a bit."

"The grass is green; they may be seen,"
   The little man replied.
"Twelve steps or more, thro' the oval door,
   If you will step inside.

"My leg-glides there I try a bit;
   My fours I often drive;
As there upon the ground I hit,
   It makes me feel alive.

"And, often, ere the sun has set --
   That's if the light is fair --
My little cricket bat I get,
   And do my practice there.

"Carkeek, he was the first to go --
   He made a duck that day;
It was O'Connor laid him low,
   And so he went away.

"So in the grand stand he was laid,
   And, as the play went on,
Around about the wickets played
   McAlister and Vaughan.

"And then" -- "Hold on, my man," I smiled.
   "You're apt to be a rover.
Why, talk of Wordsworth's 'simple child'!
   You bowl that maiden over!

"How many of you now?" said I.
   "Are two and three and seven?"
Quick was the little man's reply --
   "Oh, mister, we're eleven."

"But that's absurd.  It's most absurd!
   You'd vex a saint in heaven!"
'Twas throwing words away, for still
The little man would have his will.
   "Nay, mister we're eleven." 

First published in The Gadfly, 14 November 1906

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://www.middlemiss.org/cgi-bin/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/2473

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on November 14, 2013 7:06 AM.

The Mountain Labored by C.J. Dennis was the previous entry in this blog.

Brotherhood of Earth by C.J. Dennis is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en