In the crowd

Ask in the crowd and they’ll tell you, talking
to their shoulder or their thirst, how the mood
of the world divides into rain and shine.

If it’s tight for a draw they’ll dance for rain
and bad light in a darkening drama –
or fan the run rate and beat the drum.

Or the hours can wander off the pace
and slowing talk can harden to another one?
Gossip between overs and in the sleepy hollows
rises and falls … between the politics
of shopping and candling Leave or Remain.

But you’re in the way of settled ways if you can’t
be serious down at the base line: the County,
its foes and woes. And forecasts of the final score.

And then there sit among, alert and mild, those
who chat without a head moving, take a sip
and focus hard on the match. They quote scores

since 1958 and know the detail of the Botham
game you try to remember. They’ll touch
the estimates with their vaper and their eyes glow.
Light as a rumour and full of pleasure.