On a visit to Beach House Park in the Sussex seaside town of Worthing, groups of mature white-clad ladies and gentlemen were rolling big black balls towards little white balls on a dead flat, closely mowed rectangular patch of grass. I searched the internet for more details, so that I could appear more knowlegable next time.
On the bowling greens of Worthing,
Where the rinks are flat and true,
The players are all dressed in white –
It’s what they like to do.
A wood is rolled with careful aim
Towards the distant jack.
(It’s not as easy at it looks:
It takes a certain knack.)
The wood is not a simple sphere,
So its bias makes it swerve;
But that player knew exactly how
Her bowl was going to curve.
Her forehand draw had just the weight,
And she’d aimed it to the right,
To take it on its left-curved way
To the jack so small and white.
The other players roll their woods
And build a scattered head
Of bowls around the jack; but those
That hit the ditch are dead.
And when the end is finished,
And the players’ shots are scored,
The losers clap the winners,
Which is their just reward.
For the bowling greens of Worthing,
Where the grass is short and fine,
Are sanctuaries of manners
From a now too-distant time.