Roy Harper – When an old cricketer leaves the crease – a delicate poem for those who are gone.

Roy Harper – When an old cricketer leaves the crease – a delicate poem for those who are gone.

 

A good friend of mine died yesterday. I’m putting this up here for Margaret!

Life is a game. We live like a brief flames and then we are gone. It is how you play the game that is important.

Roy is Britain’s foremost songwriter and poet. This is one of his most beautiful efforts. It is an evocative elegy to a life well spent, a game well played and the importance of playing it seriously, with all your heart, all your spirit and with great enjoyment and pleasure.

Roy has always put in one hundred per cent. You cannot deny his passion or his skill. This delicately crafted song will live forever.

It is a love song about death and the memories that linger, the ripples that go on to turn the tides.

It is one of the great songs of the English culture. What could be more fitting than to use the metaphor of cricket – the epitome of culture, the master of games.

When an old cricketer leaves the crease

When the day is done and the ball has spun in the umpires pocket away
And all remains in the groundsman’s pains for the rest of time and a day
There’ll be one mad dog and his master, pushing for four with the spin
On a dusty pitch with two pounds six of willow wood in the sun.

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, you never know whether he’s gone
If sometimes you’re catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly Mid-on
And it could be Geoff and it could be John with a new ball sting in his tail
And it could be me and it could be thee and it could be the sting in the ale, sting in the ale.

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, well you never know whether he’s gone
If sometimes you’re catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly Mid-on
And it could be Geoff and it could be John with a new ball sting in his tail
And it could be me and it could be thee and it could be the sting in the ale, sting in the ale.

When the moment comes and the gathering stands and the clock turns back to reflect
On the years of grace as those footsteps trace for the last time out of the act
Well this way of life’s recollection, the hallowed strip in the haze
The fabled men and the noonday sun are much more than just yarns of their days.

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, well you never know whether he’s gone
If sometimes you’re catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly Mid-on
And it could be Geoff and it could be John with a new ball sting in his tail
And it could be me and it could be thee and it could be the sting in the ale, the sting in the ale.

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, well you never know whether he’s gone
If sometimes you’re catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly Mid-on
And it could be Geoff and it could be John with a new ball sting in his tail
And it could be me and it could be thee.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Roy Harper – When an old cricketer leaves the crease – a delicate poem for those who are gone.

  1. Hello Opher, although this is not in much relevance to this current post (however my condolences to yourself) I just wanted to thank you for documenting so much on Roy within this blog, I had thought the best way to go about it would be to add my comment to the latest entry in the hope that you see. I had noticed your name within the opening pages of The Passions of Great Fortune (a recent birthday gift of which I would urge any Harper fan to purchase) and you have opened a much deeper world into Roy for me which is something that is not too easy to come across.
    Although I am a complete separate generation to Roy, the words and emotion within the songs apply to all generations and walks of life, all works of his are timeless in nature and although my life has barely started I feel I have found all I need in terms of music and poetry to not hear anything else for the rest of my days. Just recently I had come to terms with the thought that I have found all there is on the subject of Roy and there is no stone I could further overturn. Yet you have shown me there is so much more to seek. I had the pleasure of seeing Roy on his recent tour at Birmingham Symphony Hall (my first live Roy experience) and was blown away by how the audience is utterly captivated and upon speaking to other fans the humbleness that comes across is enough to bring you to happy tears (although McGoohans Blues secured that one teardrop). Thank you for this blog, it is going to provide me with so much pleasure and I hope you acknowledge yourself in the highest regard for making such and impression on myself, a stranger.

    PS. If you are still in any form of contact with Roy get him over to Wales for a performance! Tell him at least one 22 year old welsh lad will attend 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for you comments. They are much appreciated. Roy has been a friend and major inspiration to me for fifty years! Doesn’t seem possible.
      I’m so glad that Roy’s music, poems and thoughts still resonate with people from other generations. I believe them to be eternal and that one day Roy will gain the respect and recognition he truly deserves.
      Thanks again – Opher.

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