To edit an edition of Snakeskin
is an honour. To choose a subject close to my heart
is a pleasure: sport.
Here, in Australia, sport is high
on the agenda at the best of times, but right now we
are in the closing days of the Olympic Games in
Sydney. We wake, eat and sleep sport at the moment,
and only a few killjoys complain.
New heroes pop up everyday, and new
stories of intense courage and teamwork. I say 'a
subject close to my heart' as a double entendre -
without exercise our heart muscles wither early. But
I am no sportsman. I sit in the audience where the
crowd's behaviour often distracts me from the game -
Aussie rules football, cricket, basketball, or what.
I have one champion cricketer son, so I have seen
every little grass patch around this town pretending
to be an oval since he was six. Parents of players
should win medals, too, for the hours they put in.
Poetry and sport? There's a lot of
training for both ... Imagine all the pages filled
with words - sprints, long distance, hurdles,
dressage - all the words in their wondrous movements,
with their muscles flexed between meaning and image.
And then the main event: a thought comes, and all the
hours of discipline and experiment come to fruition -
a performance, a poem on the mat, like a lyrical
gymnast doing her routine.
The poems that follow often use
sport as a metaphor; some mix sport and other
pleasures creating a personal tension like a diver
doing a double twist with pike simply for its degree
of difficulty. All are entertaining - perhaps a peek
into the training room of the poet, or an appraisal
I hope you enjoy Snakeskin's
own festival of sport: no medals will be awarded, but
all the talent on display is prized and appreciated.