Wimbledon and Blogging

Wimbledon 2013 begins on Monday, June 24 and ends on Sunday, July 7.
So posting may be at a more sedate pace than usual.

BBC Coverage details here

Official Wimbledon website here
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Some research on poetry and Wimbledon revealed some intriguing facts.
 Wimbledon had an official poet laureate in 2010, Matt Harvey, who had to write a poem every day of the two week tournament. 

Players walk past a couplet from Rudyard Kipling’s “If” 
  inscribed above the double doors through which they pass to get to Centre Court.

 It says: "If you can meet with triumph and disaster/and treat those two imposters just the same," which prompted this snappy return from Matt titled 

"An Unseeded Player Considers Kipling"

 Those two imposters? It's quite hard to treat
them just the same. There's one I've yet to mee

                    You can read the New York Times article about Matt Harvey here.
Click here for the full game set and match of  “Wimblewords,” from the Poetry Society website, and I've picked out a few of the more memorable aces and served them below. 

Major Walter Wingfield’s Recreation
   By Matt Harvey

In 1874 Major Walter Clopton Wingfield patented and popularised a recreation, the game we now know as lawn tennis. His name for it was ‘Sphairistike' - from the Greek and for a while that's how it was known.
Here's the question: would the game
by any other name still play the same?

Although it's the same game per se
for those of us who aren't au fait
with this tongue-twisting soubriquet
‘sphairistike', let's not be coy

it conjures up crass class cliché
of henries, genus hooray, who
while guzzling upon canapés
engage in dazzling repartee

say things like, ‘Tish, Tarquin, touché!'
a far cry from the hoi polloi
we oiks who'd simply shout out, ‘Oi!
Tarquin. Fair play.
Now shut it!'

We're blessed that in the end the game
proved more enduring than the name.


This next Matt Harvey poem is based on the famed lawns of the All England Club and sums up some of the excitement around one of the greatest institutions of British and world sport events. 

The grass must be cut to an exact 8 millimetres for optimum performance. 
Click here for an intriguing 2012 article on the high tech intricacies of lawn tennis management and more here from the Wimbledon website.

Eddie Seaward, incidentally, was Wimbledon’s head groundsman in 2010.

More than a lawn

it’s a lawn – just a lawn
but it’s more than a lawn
it’s a dance floor, a war zone, a platform, a stage
showcase, coliseum, a ring, a fight cage
big top, debating hall, combat arena
goldfish bowl, cauldron, a cliché convener
petri dish, pressure cooker, drama provider
physics laboratory, small hadron collider
it’s all these things – sort of – but what is it not?
it isn’t a park, or a nice picnic spot
it’s not an allotment – there’s no strawberry patch
but the bounce will be true
and the bounces will match
those on all the courts made by the Wimbledon crew
it’s still just a lawn but one made by the best
a regular lawn but a lawn that is blessed
just a lawn, made of grass, but a lawn that’s possessed
of a singular, unparalleled beauty
and Eddie Seaward expects
every blade of grass to do its duty

The iconic and extortionately priced strawberries and Pimms inspired this next poem.

Mrs K with Strawberries
   By Matt Harvey

they're ordinary strawberries
it's ordinary cream
from a commonplace cow
nothing special - like me

and they're served as you'd hope
in a bowl, with a spoon
with a sprinkle of sugar
just like at home

and I'm eating them now
in the Wingfield Café
and Jeremy's here
with his clever new phone

and he's taking my picture
just typical me
with my ordinary strawberries
and ordinary cream

are they nice? Yes they are, they're ever so nice
and no, actually, I didn't notice the price
what do they taste of? hmmm, let me see,
they taste of, well ...strawberries

just ordinary strawberries
but the way strawberries taste
when you choose the right time
and you pick the right place
like sipping a nice cup of tea at the Ritz
a croissant in Paris ...a cornetto in Venice

but strawberries that stir my old memories of tennis
of me as a girl watching Billie Jean King
she'd get cross with herself and then win everything
or that time when the tennis gods granted my wish
and Nastase came second to gallant Stan Smith
of Dan Maskell's vowels, a puff of white chalk
being sat on the sofa in awe at Bjorn Borg
of Virginia's win back in Jubilee year
and Martina's last stand, when I shed a tear
in front of Mim Corbett and Jeremy's Dad!

you know, these are the best strawberries I've ever had
gosh, listen to me, I've started to gush
I'm having a Wimbledon strawberry rush!
not one of them's ordinary - neither am I -
look, the sun's coming out in a Wimbledon sky

and anyway, Jeremy says there's no such thing as an unseeded strawberry

 In 2012, students from Kingston University were invited to submit "unique visions of the sporting empire fuelled by champagne, strawberries and curious fashions" for an official poster design. From this veritable trove of artistic interpretations, the All England Club and the designers Hat-Trick picked 12 for 2012.
Click here to see more
Two of my favourites...... 

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