Two poems by Oliver Comins

    Photo by Alessandro Bogliari on Unsplash 


    Another XI


A cricket tea on a boundary edge in old heat.
Trains and cars passed, skirting the park’s rim
where sunlight was streaming through poplars.
On the surface, at least, we weren’t normal
sporting types – sweaty and earnest or urgent.
A team of the wayward and the alternative,
playing because we played, in scruffy whites.

Some of us coached ourselves from books.
A few even had prior experience. No-one knew
how to put their whole game together for more
than a few overs before resting by a pavilion
of less than evocative splendour. We watched,
hoping someone else would have his moment
with its smattering of luck, joy and panache.

On certain wickets, we were not good enough
to touch a well-bowled ball, let alone stroke it
easily into the boundary. The Council’s grass
grew thick and slow, so hitting a bit uppish
made sense, as long as the blow was decisive.
When we began to convert gallant rear-guard
into narrow victory, it all felt distinctly odd.


    An Evening Stroll


I can be found in the street at certain times.
There is nothing deliberate about the way
this occurs, but my arrival often coincides
with my neighbour and her carer returning
from their walk to the church and back.
My neighbour is pleased if I greet them first.
This makes it easier for both of us to cope
with her perception of me as just a stranger.

Meanwhile, the sea is perfectly calm in Islay
and the air has settled in one orderly layer
all over the island. The absence of drama
is welcome, in many respects. This means
we can proceed slowly round the whole bay,
watching the peaceful waves as they stroke
the water’s edge and listening to the noise
our footsteps make, pressing on the grass.


Oliver Comins

About Oliver Comins

Oliver Comins lives and works in West London. His short collection, ‘Battling Against the Odds’ (Templar Poetry 2016), was wholly concerned with the game of golf and the sport of life. A full collection, 'Oak Fish Island', was published in 2018 by Templar Poetry.