Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ode to the World Cup while doing the Washing

Let the men kick pigskin.
For what is it about life
that cannot be learnt
out on the field?

Take it on the chin
after all everyone wants a knock-out.
Show no mercy
it's always in short supply.
Take the opposition down -
go for the legs:
Below the belt is always the best way
to trip someone up.

Kiss butt
and team together,
run with the pack
or get eaten
I mean beaten.
With shades of running into a brick wall - and stringing it wide

Let the games begin
Let the All Blacks win
Let the men kick-

A.J. Ponder

I was in fact doing the washing, and in my own terribly unpatriotic way, not particularly looking forward to the world cup - sorry, and yes, for non-New Zealanders, that's the rugby world cup - when some rugby phrases popped into my head.  You can't live here without hearing them.

So then I started thinking about what those phrases might mean and what the broader impact of rugby in the community might be, in a more than slightly unfair way - because where's the impact in being fair?  Besides otherwise I would have mentioned "play hard, play fair" and all the positive features of hosting a world cup.  Like gosh, wasn't Wales v. South Africa a great match?  And all the wonderful visitors dropping in from all around the world.  OK fine.  I hope everyone has a great time, enjoys the rugby, and remembers that taking it on the chin is actually a great expression - so long as some idiot (sorry, that was me) doesn't decide to take it literally.

So have fun, and remember the best way to watch the word cup is from another room ;) - Preferably with the computer set to check out the poems on my blog ;)

A.J. Ponder

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores


  1. Thanks for this Alicia - there will be many like you doing the washing and wondering when the Rugby World Cup is going to end. I love at the end of the post that you refer to the 'word cup' - now that sounds interesting!!

  2. I must admit that the rugby world cup will probably largely past me by---as a message from a foreign country and in a language that, while broadly decipherable remains largely mysterious. But hey, lots of people having fun and enjoying themselves---where's the bad?

  3. Cheers Helen and Mary for dropping by. And Mary, I'm rather thinking maybe NZ missed out on a word cup sub-event for those of us who rather enjoy all the extras but are left rather cold by the sport.

    Helen, of course there's a positive aspect to the cup, but when I was writing the poem I was rather thinking of the flip side of sporting events - http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/rugby-world-cup/4190359/Police-fear-violence-if-All-Blacks-fail-at-cup. I do of course apologise for my negativity in the face of what has so far been a very positive event.

  4. I enjoyed that poem very much, and I especially liked the final stanza! (Though the Gilbert website informs me that the Official World Cup Ball is made of 'new rubber compounds' rather than the skin of a pig.)

    Rather worryingly, I recall reading somewhere that sports fans are more likely to be violent if their teams *wins*, not loses - but I don't have the reference to hand.

  5. cheers Tim. Of course you're right - the ball hasn't been made of pigskin for some time - or more accurately pigs-bladder I believe. But never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

    I do vaguely remember a similar reference. Maybe what I'm remembering is from an earlier time when the All Blacks were simply expected to win - and its not like that any more, womens refuge says win lose or draw as a rule violence is up a bit - but possibly its alcohol giving sport a bad name.