Almanac Poetry: The Oval Barracker by Colin Thiele

Colin Thiele, Selected Verse (Rigby: Adelaide, 1970)


The Oval Barracker


by Colin Thiele


Down at the oval, with stentorian force,
One hears his passion shout.
No compromise could ever calm that cry –
He’s out, He’s damn well out!

When the long sunshine sleeps across the grass
And the day’s pulse-beats drag,
He slaps their noon-gold torpor with the clout
Of Get a bag! Ahhr, get a bloody bag

And when the streaming showers lunge and dart
And football games bog into muddy farces,
He and the winter both have chilling tongues –
For God’s sake, umpire, use your bloody glasses!

And though the winds rub ice across his face,
He spurns the coddling touch of coat and rug;
He needs no comfort then the heat of wrath:
For Chris’ sake get a telescope, you mug!

Hawks up abuse above the crowd’s wild roar,
Screws out excruciating venom through the din,
Till the red veins avow the heart’s committal –
Hell’s teeth, umpire, Screw your eyeballs in!

Beats at the pickets with his passion’s fist,
Chokes and contorts to see such wrong ignored,
Hurls in a final paroxysm his contempt –
Hellfire, ump, your eyes are up your broad!

For down the years, the symbol of his age,
Shirt-sleeved, splenetic, wrapped in agony,
He flings his cry in Corybantic rage –
The great dumb bastard couldn’t even see!




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