Six and Out – GD Martineau

Physical games have always been the fascination of boys and girls everywhere in the world. Although sports and physical games have been reduced to one’s living room due to scarcity of playgrounds in cities, children in villages are luckier because they have space to play and enjoy. The poem presents a similar situation where children have been forced to play cricket outside the park because it closed down at 6 and they were Out! The children’s determination shows that space is not a limiting factor for sports. All we need is determination.

About the title:

Six and out is a pun (a word with more than one meaning)

  • Six might refer to the lockup time of the park after which the players were forced to play on the street.
  • Six also might refer to the six-boudary hit by one of the batsmen after which everyone ran away from the scene.
Opening Stanza

The pitch was only smooth in parts;
It sank at either crease,
And motor vans and bakers’ carts
At times disturbed the peace.


They were playing cricket in the street. The pitch was not entirely smooth. Both the pitches (where the ball bounces when bowled) on both sides. Except the motor vans and bakers’ carts that sold bakery, the game was altogether smooth.

  • Pitch – The 20 meter long and 3 meter wide central ‘hot’ area where cricket is played
  • Smooth in parts – The field where the children played was not smooth everywhere
  • It sank – The pitch was uneven
  • Crease – The area other than the pitch where the batsman and bowler stand
  • Motor vans – The children were playing a road
  • Bakers’ carts – Bakers passed by with their carts selling bakery
  • At times – Often
  1. How does the poet describe the pitch?
    The pitch where the children played cricket was a section of the road where vans and carts plied. The pitch was not entirely smooth everywhere. On both ends were lamp-posts which the children used as their wickets. Either end of the pitch was lower than the other end.
  2. Why was it very difficult to play cricket on the road?
    It was very difficult to play on the road because the road was not empty. Motor vans and carts drawn by bakers who sold their bakery passed by at intervals and disrupted their game.
  3. What game were the children playing?
    The children were playing a game of cricket? They were playing on the busy road.
Stanza 2 – Bowling

The bowlers found it hard to hit
The lamp-post’s slender stem
The broader wicket opposite
Was cleared at 06.00 pm.

  • Slender – Thin
  • Stem – Base
  • Cleared – Closed
  1. Why was it hard for the bowlers to hit the wicket?
    It was hard for the bowlers to hit the wicket because it was not really a wicket. They used the slender base of the lamp-post as a wicket and therefore it was hard to hit the wicket.
  2. Why did the children play on the road?
    The children played cricket on the busy road because the park in which they had been playing earlier with broader wicket had been closed by 06 pm. Due to their keen interest in cricket, they came to the busy road and started playing cricket.
  3. What do you mean by ‘the broader wicket opposite?’
    The line suggests that the road was opposite a park where there was a typical cricket pitch with broader wicket.
Next – No Rule, No Regulation

Biju John is an educational writer, educator and the author of OM - The Otherwise Men. He gives live classes on Skype and Facebook. You can attend his 3 Day Classes (English & Business Studies) in Delhi, Bangalore, Qatar and Dubai. His Contact number is 91 9810740061.

Comments (10)

Leave a comment
    • Rajalakshmi

    • September 16, 2017

    Thank you for the detailed explanation. It was really very useful.

    • V. Srinivasa raghavan

    • September 28, 2017

    I read this poem from my English book when I studied 8th standard in 1970

    1. Yes… it is a good one!!

    • V. Srinivasa raghavan

    • September 28, 2017

    Nice poem

    • Rashmi

    • October 5, 2017

    Very nice explanation

  1. thankyou very is very useful

    • amrutha

    • October 20, 2017

    very useful

      • Sudha

      • November 2, 2017


    • Sudha

    • November 2, 2017


    • joycee sanil

    • November 16, 2017

    very good explanation…helped me …..thank you so much!

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