‘Missed’ is beautiful poem written by PG Wodehouse (1881-1975), an English author and one of the most widely read humourists of the 2oth century. This poem also contains humour that has been created out of a cricket match and the catch that the speaker misses.
Poem: ‘Missed’ by PG Wodehouse
Missed The sun in the heavens was beaming, The breeze bore an odour of hay, My flannels were spotless and gleaming, My heart was unclouded and gay; The ladies, all gaily apparelled, Sat round looking on at the match, In the tree-tops the dicky-birds carolled, All was peace -- till I bungled that catch. My attention the magic of summer Had lured from the game -- which was wrong. The bee (that inveterate hummer) Was droning its favourite song. I was tenderly dreaming of Clara (On her not a girl is a patch), When, ah, horror! there soared through the air a Decidedly possible catch. I heard in a stupor the bowler Emit a self-satisfied 'Ah!' The small boys who sat on the roller Set up an expectant 'Hurrah!' The batsman with grief from the wicket Himself had begun to detach -- And I uttered a groan and turned sick. It Was over. I'd buttered the catch. O, ne'er, if I live to a million, Shall I feel such a terrible pang. From the seats on the far-off pavilion A loud yell of ecstasy rang. By the handful my hair (which is auburn) I tore with a wrench from my thatch, And my heart was seared deep with a raw burn At the thought that I'd foozled that catch. Ah, the bowler's low, querulous mutter Points loud, unforgettable scoff! Oh, give me my driver and putter! Henceforward my game shall be golf. If I'm asked to play cricket hereafter, I am wholly determined to scratch. Life's void of all pleasure and laughter; I bungled the easiest catch.
odour – smell
hay – dry grass of wheat, rice etc.
flannel – the dress of cricketers (white dress)
unclouded – without any worry feelings
carolled – sang (cheerfully)
bungle – mess up, ruin, mismanage
lure – attract, tempt,
inveterate – continuous disturbing, incurable, persistent
patch – match (not a patch for- not a match for)
soar – fly
decidedly – definitely,
stupor – a daze, almost unconscious, unable to think properly
turn sick – to feel giddy
emit – to utter, to shout
butter – miss catch, slip a catch
pang – pain
ecstasy – great joy and delight
Auburn – reddish-brown in colour (of hair)
Wrench – to pull out or twist
Sear – Burn
Thatch – thick hair on head
Foozle – bungle, mess up, miss, drop
Querulous – Criticizing, critical
mutter – to talk in a quiet voice
Scoff – ridicule, mock
Driver – Golf club
Putter – Golf club
Henceforward – Hereafter
Scratch – reject, decide not to take part in
Void – without, lacking
Summary of the Poem: Missed
It was a sunny day. The breeze was filled with the smell of hay. It was a harvest season and the stadium was located near some area of cultivation. The poet was a cricketer and he wore spotless white flannels. He was quite happy and boastful about the weather, his mood and that particular morning. He had the least of worries about the match being played. Ladies sat in the gallery watching the match progressing and the dicky- birds sang. It was all perfect and it was the magic of summer according to the poet. It would have been a perfect day but something went wrong—the player (poet) missed an easy catch. But who was to be blamed for this? Was it the magic of summer? Yes, it was the magic of the summer that distracted his attention from the game. It was a bee’s humming; and it was the thought of Clara that distracted the player. The player turned sick as he missed the catch. His heart seared deep with a raw, agonising burn. All the other players in the team scoffed at him, pointed at his error.
In the end he gives up on the game of cricket and believes that the game of golf is a better one. He bungles a catch and then believes that life is empty of any pleasure and laughter.
Poem: Missed, Book Exercises
Answer. 1. d 2. c 3. a 4. e 5. b
1. a. The ladies ‘sat around looking at the match.’
b. They were all gaily apparelled according to the speaker.
c. A cricket match is being referred to here.
d. The peace was ruined when the narrator bungled or missed a catch.
- a. A loud yell of ecstasy rang from the far-off pavilion pavilion.
b. The people sitting in the pavilion enjoying the match were responsible for the loud yell.
c. The batsman reacted in the opposite way. He was ready to leave the pitch.
d. He thought that it was a catch.
- a. He was in grief because he thought that it was a catch.
b. ‘I’ is the narrator.
c. The person groaned because he knew he had missed the catch.
d. The batsman’s frustration and the bowler’s exhilaration found opposing culmination. Bowler’s exhilaration gave way to disappointment and the batsman’s bitterness changed to excitement. The match had come to an end as the bowler had missed a catch.
1. The match was being played in the morning.
- The narrator was wearing spotless flannels.
- The narrator explains that it was a fine, sunny morning. There was an odour of hay in the breeze. He was happy, excited and all set for the match. He could see the ladies, all gaily apparelled sat round looking at the match. The dicky-birds were singing on tree-tops. Everything was peaceful according to the speaker. It was a perfect day for the match.
- According to the narrator ‘the magic of summer ‘meant the peace that prevailed on the day of the match. The sun was shining and the breeze bore an odour of hay. It was a perfect day. He was lured by the magical presence of the summer that warmed him and the world around.
- The small boys and the batsman thought that it was a catch. While the boys were elated about it, the batsman was grief stricken till everyone saw that the narrator had missed a catch.
- The narrator was miserable because he had missed a catch. Everything before this was perfect. He
was enjoying the match and felt it was just the perfect day for the match.
- The narrator after missing the catch decided that life was without all pleasure and laughter. Since he could not hold on the catch, he decided to give up on cricket. He decided it was better to play golf than to play cricket.
- The narrator missed the catch because his attention was diverted. It was summer time and he was already smitten by the weather that day. Besides, a bee was humming around the pitch his favourite song and he was reminded of Clara, who was the most beautiful girl according to him.