Test Match Sabina Park - Literature Notes
Please note that the information given on this poem is not meant to replace any material given in the classroom setting. It is a very BASIC giude to enable a literal understanding of the poem. Metaphorical interpretations should be sought in the classroom.
The physical structure of this poem has been altered from the original layout in the text.
Proudly wearing the 4.rosette of my skin
I 5.strut into Sabina
3.England boycotting excitement bravely,
6.something badly amiss.
Cricket. Not the game they play at Lords,
the crowd - 1.whoever saw a crowd
at a cricket match? - are caged
7.vociferous partisans, quick to take offence.
8.England sixty eight for none at lunch.
1.'What sort o battin dat man?
dem kaaan play cricket again,
praps dem should-a-borrow 2.Lawrence Rowe!'
And on it goes, 9.the wicket slow
as the batting and the crowd restless.
1.'Eh white bwoy, how you brudders dem
does sen we sleep so? Me a pay monies
fe watch dis foolishness? Cho!
So I try to explain in my Hampshire drawl
about conditions in Kent,
about 10.sticky wickets and muggy days
and the monsoon season in Manchester
but fail to convince even myself.
The crowd's 11.loud 'busin drives me out
12.skulking behind a tarnished rosette
somewhat frayed now but unable, quite,
to conceal a 13.blushing nationality.
Brown, S. 'Test Match Sabina Park' in A World of Prose. Edited by Mark McWatt and Hazel Simmonds McDonald. Pearson Education Ltd, 2005.
This is the OPINION of one individual, which might not coincide with the views of others.
The persona, a white male, proudly enters Sabina Park to watch a cricket match between England and the West Indies. The persona notices that the game is slow and that the crowd is not reacting well. He is, in fact, initially shocked that there is a crowd at all because this is usually not the case at Lords. By lunch, England is sixty eight for none, and the crowd gets abusive. They even state that maybe they should borrow Lawrence Rowe. The persona tries to explain the reason behind the slow pace of the British side, but fails to convince even himself. His embarrassment at England's performance has him eventually skulking out of the venue.
1. RHETORICAL QUESTION
- Stanza 3, line 10: This question represents the general frustration of the West Indians in the crowd. They are annoyed that the cricket match is progressing so slowly.
- Stanza 4, lines 16-18: These questions imply that the West Indian crowd's level of frustration has escalated.
The allusion to Lawrence Rowe, a very colourful and successful West Indian cricketer, emphasizes the fact that the match is slow and boring.
To 'boycott' is to abstain from, or to stop, doing something. Therefore, the persona is being sarcastic because excitement is a good thing. People usually boycott for something negative, therefore the persona is, again, highlighting the slow and boring pace of the cricket match.
IMPORTANT WORDS/ PHRASES
4.'rosette of my skin'
Rosette implies a reddish colour, or tint, to the skin, that sometimes resembles a rose. This description immediately identifies the race of the persona as caucasian. The persona is proud of his race, as he enters Sabina Park.
'This word means to walk proudly. It emphasizes the fact that the persona is proudly walking into Sabina Park.
6.'something badly amiss'
The persona is jolted by the fact that the match is going slowly. The word 'amiss' implies wrong, the game should not be going so slowly.
Vociferous means to be very noisy and clamorous, while patisan is a person who shows biased, emotional allegiance. Therefore, the West Indian crowd was extremely noisy in their support of their team. They were also very unappreciative of the slow pace of the match.
8.'England sixty eight for none at lunch'
While this is a good score, it never-the-less highlights the slowness of the match, hence the fact that the experience, for the crowd, was far from exciting.
9.'the wicket slow'
The purpose of the wicket is to 'out' the opposing side. Therefore, no 'outing' is occurring, the wickets are standing. Everything about the match is going slowly.
This implies a sticky, or awkward situation. It highlights England's situation.
The English team was being loudly abused.
12.'skulking behind a tarnished rosette'
Skulking implies hiding in shame, and tarnished means tainted. Therefore, the proud Englishman is now embarrassed, and the rosette of his skin is making him stand out. Initially this was a very good thing, but now it is a disadvantage.
At this point, the Englishman admits to being embarrassed for his team, as well as himself.
*There is a distinct CONTRAST between the beginning of the poem when the persona is proud, and 'struts'. However, by the end of the poem, he is embarrassed and 'skulking'
There are two distinct voices in this poem. The English man's and the West Indian's.
The mood of the poem is tense embarrassment.
The tone of the poem is one of frustration and annoyance (West Indian) , as well as embarrassment (English man).
Discrimination, places, culture and sports
Contributors: Leisa Samuels-Thomas