AG (1963 - / St.Helens, South Lancashire, UK)

So Painfully English

The cricket match in progress, figures rush across the Village Green,
Cork balls meet bats, amidst distant cries of ‘HOWZAT! ’
Panama hats rise up, in gentle notice, as spectators clap and cheer,
Tired hands now rest beside long-gone-flat, bitter beer.
Striped club ties assail the senses in the bright afternoon, Sunday light.
It’s all so painfully English; it’s something oh-so right.


The tea is served. Milk or Lemon? Would you like a slice of curd?
Bone china chinks a genteel rhythm it all looks so absurd,
Like a silly parody in motion, it is something for which I’m not prepared
Yet there is something rather eccentric here; an opinion that can not be refute
But a friendly old woman’s face beckons before me, “Hello, I’m Edna, ” she says, the cup
Now extended. ‘I’m from the Women’s Institute’.


Scones and jam are well consumed, as a fielder fails to catch the ball and his team fumes.
‘Bad luck’ the batsman calls out in easy lark, as the failed sportsman walks back wishing to high heaven it was dark.
An Aston Martin growls into view, a blazer-clad man alights. His wife wears a low-cut, Laura Ashley Dress, she’s so beautiful and wealthy, do they really need to impress?
The Duck Pond sits in mirroring silence, like one that wants nothing to do with it all,
As some tiresome man, a Cricket fan, sides up beside me and drives me up the wall.
I know I must sound awful; I know I must look a cold fish,
But then it’s all so painfully English, so painfully English it is.


Like Bangers and Mash, the handle-bar moustache, the British Spitfire roars supreme,
As in pictures they adorn, the Elizabethan pub wall, as military scenes, historic to some yet so obscene, their gilded frames polished and gleam.
Fox hunting and buntings, trumpets and horns, bear down upon me painfully like emotionless thorns,
As people with names that are parted with hyphens,
Greet each other like characters out of Monty Python,
‘I say, How are you, Mr. Ellis-Smythe’ they say as I writhe. ‘A jolly good catch, you did there, sir! Pity your fielder didn’t look alive’
And a chorus of upper-crusted voices howl in humour, as I find myself sinking into a depressive stupor. Or something like it – ish.
But then it’s all so painfully English, so painfully English it is……

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