A Longing for Lord’s – May 1943, by Charles Morgan

Quick – before the vision fades!

This is by Charles Morgan, an English writer more popular in France than England.

“So many of the toys we want are put away on the topmost shelf until the Germans are tired of their game, and perversely we long for them.  For example, to be at Lord’s, for there nothing changes.  A new stand

or a new scoring board

arises now and then, bowlers cease to bowl trial balls, red bat-handles go out of fashion, but there is always the same freshness in the forenoon,

 the same air of hot endurance between luncheon

and tea,  the same intensification of sound and silence, the lengthening of shadows, the deepening of the green, and, it may be, suddenly an unreal tension exquisitely heightened so that each withdrawal to the pavilion is the death of a warrior and each new entrant a David come to battle …

The nostalgia for cricket seems a kind of madness to those who have it not.  They come late in life, or from foreign parts willing to be instructed in the mysteries, and, being instructed, are still inexpressibly bored: they cannot understand what we see in the game.  The answer is that it is not the game only that we see, but childhood and youth, and peace and quiet in the recollection of enduring things …

A day at Lord’s, with past welling up into the present, puts a bracket round controversy, and gives imagination release.  There are two minds – the mind that keeps its eye on the ball, and the mind that ranges …”

Wikipedia comments that Morgan “was often criticised for excessive seriousness”.  He’d certainly have a hard job getting that published in All Out Cricket.


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