Another fantastic effort by Stephen Midgley in the style we all know and love. This time his genius of poetry is inspired by a certain tennis competition…
Lines in Praise of the Wimbledon Championships
Oh! ’tis time for Wimbledon fortnight again,
The great tennis tournament for ladies and men;
Crowds flock to the show courts, match after match,
While vast multitudes in their homes do watch.
The rules of the game are very clear,
The competitors hit a ball through the air;
One player strikes it with his racket,
And his opponent back over the net must whack it.
So the ball flies rapidly back and forth,
And the players run about the court for all they are worth;
Sunshiny days are the best for lawn tennis,
But sometimes wet weather can be a fearful menace.
The court is of green grass, marked out with lines of white,
And the players try hard for to place the ball just right,
For they must pay heed to where it touches the ground,
Or else they will not get through to the next round.
Some hit the ball past the other player
With lightning speed, I do declare,
While others use tactics, precision and cunning,
Which are equally effective ways of winning.
Sometimes the ball strikes the ground so fast,
’Tis hard to tell exactly where it lands on the grass,
And, sad to say, there may follow an argument,
As the players seek ways to express their dissent.
For some men defer to the umpire’s decision,
While others do treat it, alas! with derision,
Like John McEnroe, whose conduct in his youth was notorious,
Especially for his famous catchphrase, “Thou canst not be serious!”
The great tennis players have earned many honours,
Such as Rosewall, Laver, Hoad, Borg and Connors,
And I must mention Edberg, Lendl and Becker,
Also Agassi, Sampras, Nadal and Federer.
Sometimes a match doth the nation enthral,
Like the final in the year 2008 ‘twixt Federer and Nadal,
A battle that lasted for a very long time,
And will be remember’d for an even longer time.
The ladies too are a sight to witness,
Such as Goolagong, King, Sharapova and Hingis,
But some say the best of all was Steffi Graf,
And ’twas a happy day she became Andre Agassi’s better half;
And Serena and Venus, the Williams sisters,
Who strike the ball at a pace that blisters;
They have even played each other on Centre Court,
Where so many desperate battles are fought.
Hurrah also for Martina Navratilova,
And who can forget the fair Anna Kournikova?
So beautiful to behold, she made men’s hearts beat faster,
But alas! of tennis the finer points she could not quite master.
And what of the brave British, who strive so hard for to play,
But often fill onlookers’ hearts with dismay?
Such as ‘Tiger Tim’ Henman, and Scot Andy Murray
Who may yet reach the top, but perhaps not in a hurry.
For, ’tis pitiful to relate, the British are rather unlucky,
Although our players are extremely plucky;
And they never throw their rackets, kick, shout or swear,
But they set an example to their foreign foes everywhere.
For the game of tennis is a noble sport,
Which keeps men away from strong drink, rum or port,
And if a player drinks whisky, beer or gin,
Be advised by me, he never shall win.
At the All England Club in the open air they do play,
Which is good for the health, there’s none can gainsay,
So ’tis game, set and match to British sportsmanship,
And that is the reason why Wimbledon is the world’s best championship.