The Best of the Night to You, too, Bala - Part Two

Written by: T Wignesan

                              Part Two

Do you remember your run-up to the crease
      your Lindwall-delivery dragging the clasping flannel round hobbled boots
your anger
                 at the wicket that went on a no-ball

Do you remember your opening bat
      that snicked the runs to leg and off
            which dozing umpires signalled as byes from pads

Do you remember Brigitte
      her perky bobtail
           her boucles of prancing hair
lances on her forehead
     sickles on her verti-vir-ginous temples

Where are the bridges you have crossed
        and those you had planned
and those you saw grow pebble by pylon and cementing stone
       where the roads you laid
up virgin forest and limestone

Where indeed the buildings you repaired
  re-erected and razed
          and the thousands and thousands of miles
you rode the wild seladang of the primeval jungle
      hand on hump
with no stars in the paly night to guide you
through venomous blukar
                        and the boiling green torture
seared deep into your burning entrails
        these that now have run out on you

Watch now how the river glues under your fuming stare
when the monsoon torrents sweep the knock-knee-ed pylons to a side
       those dry as split-bark legs of yours
itching once too often in comforting company
                         though a little spindly for a Pied Piper

Yet you made the puppety Peninsula run
      down drains and monsoon pipes
                                      to a purge-full sea

Who is there now who wouldn't wake to your fits of irrupting gurgly merriment
                           to ease the tension
amongst unlikely fellows
Who who wouldn't miss your seething whiteheat glee
at his side

You who knew how to accompany Kay and Richard
      up to the closed door of your last night
a very good night on your lips

Your opening bat's duty done
     the side shored-up in safekeeping
the last fast breathless ball you faced
         nicking the bails off

You needn't return to the pavilion
       for the standing ovation goes on
                                                   for you Bala
long after the cloddy-stumps lie slain on the tiled floor

© T.Wignesan 1993 August 8, 1993 - Paris [from the collection: back to background material, 1993]