Wimbledon Championships Poet 2010
Wimbledon, in collaboration with The Poetry Trust, has for the first time appointed a ‘Championships Poet’ to capture the flavour and fervour of the world’s leading tennis tournament.
Throughout the championship fortnight (21 June - 4 July) here’s where we’ll be hosting Matt Harvey's whimsical, perceptive and funny poems on all things Wimbledon.
Sunday 4 July
A few Wimblewords from Matt Harvey introducing his latest poem...
This is my final poem of the Fortnight. It's a hymn to Centre Court. Quite a long hymn, to be honest - and one with footnotes. But bear with it. One of the footnotes rhymes. As it's my last post I'd like to take the opportunity to say a big thank you - THANK YOU - to everyone who has followed the Wimblewords blog. It was a bold and innovative decision on Wimbledon's part to invite a poet to savour and celebrate this great festival of tennis, and I thank you for your warm comments, for your poems, and for your generous welcome. Coming to the Championships and being made to feel part of things, however peripherally, has been a real treat. I am one lucky poet.
a lawn is made
By Matt Harvey
a lawn is made
they say the great players
are not made, they're born
but this Centre Court lawn
where great players have played
was not born but made
and this lawn wasn't laid
and it's grown
it's scarified back
to its basal node
then this lawn's oversown
then it's rolled and it's mown
and it's mown and it's rolled
and it's rolled
and it's mown
and it's not left alone
not this lawn
you'll never see bunch grasses, tufts, tussocks, clumps
you won't ever see the most minimal humps
it's smooth sod1, it's mat, and it's ever so flat
(you won't see another lawn flatter than that)
it's way beyond tidy - it's practically 2D
and the height of each blade will not ever exceed
the eight millimetres that Eddie's3 decreed
did ever a lawn get such care and attention?
any worm turning up would lose one whole dimension
was ever a lawn quite so nurtured and humoured
and hoovered it's rumoured - it's true I can prove it
and even when the weather's fine
the Met Office is on the line
to tell the team who tend the grass
each tremor of the isobars
each incremental pressure change
the short-term odds of sun and rain
did ever any lawn receive
such close attention to its needs
bespoke mixes of soil and seeds
- of Pontiac and Jessica -
the sheer unlikelihood of weeds
it's coddled and cosseted, sampled and sounded
just to be buffeted, trampled and pounded
it's so pampered and sprinkled and tampered and tinkered with
under surveillance and overprotected
blades ritually counted, imbalance corrected
monitored, measured, nourished and cherished
analysed, sanitised, fertilised, squirtilised
scrutinised, and fungicidally sprayed...
and all for the sake of a game being played
no, this lawn is not laid
and it's not born
1 just as now we say 'love'
where once we said 'l'oeuf'2
we used to say 'sod'
whereas now we say 'turf'
2 it's believed that the origin of the term 'love' in tennis' scoring system is from the French l'oeuf (source: Wimbledon Museum)
3 Eddie Seaward, Head Groundsman at Wimbledon
Listen to Matt Harvey reading 'a lawn is made'
© Matt Harvey, Wimbledon Championships Poet 2010