Almost imperceptibly the days
Have lengthened and the sky has grown more blue.
Unclipped forsythia tangles in a blaze
Of gold; bright jonquils shine, and crocus too,
Amidst the paler shades of blooming trees:
The pinks and whites of apple, cherry, pear,
And darker redbud in the pastel seas
Of tossing blossomed limbs so lately bare.
Grass reborn spreads its imperial jade
In carpets envied by a monarch's throne,
And birds from dawn to dusk sing out their hearts.
And in each town some space is found or made
For that sure sign that winter's truly flown:
With that first pitch, at last the summer starts.
Spring's First Conviction
Dead winter's gone, that lately held us tight
In its cold grasp of kronos, time in chains,
And spring's returned, the air, the green, the light,
And washed us clean of Time with newmade rains.
No more those games where clocks click off the night
And measure out each step of loss and gains--
Where ticking time is ally and despite,
Where time runs out and emptiness remains.
For kairos now is king, and we are rapt
Within the changing patterns of the game
Where time's eternal, measured not nor mapped--
The rhythm of the universe we claim:
Eternally unchanged, yet never trapped:
Like life itself, ah!, never twice the same.
Looking Back on 1988 in Baltimore
So they were bad. Okay. I know it's true.
Believe you me, I know. All summer long
I watched each game (I only missed a few):
And yes, I guess at times my words were strong;
At times, I guess, I sang "They done me wrong."
But there were also moments, some, a few,
When, on my feet, I joined the shouting throng
Who now find it hard to say what then we knew.
We love, not by the standings, or that start;
We see the faults, and overlook them all;
We cheer them on; we fiercely take their part
Not only when they soar, but when they fall;
We care. So they were bad. That's head, not heart:
It doesn't stop us loving them at all.
Series End (Red Sox 1986)
So now it's over, all that glorious summer,
Golden and green like days of far-gone youth.
Our dreams have faded, like a dying mummer,
And fantasies have shaded into truth.
Now Winter stares, with cold and lonely eyes,
Into those hearts which raced with borrowed power,
And we must face that truth, stripped of the guise
Which once beguiled each hopeful summer hour.
But still we'll talk, throughout the shortening days,
Of what they might have been, and should have done;
Still we'll replay, in memory's kind haze,
The games that led us, doom-filled, to that one;
Until again we find the dream ablaze,
Reborn beneath the kindly southern sun.
Confined by lines as straight and pure as light
That hold infinity within their arc,
Unbound by time, unmeasured by its flight,
The passing ritual is its own mark.
Unchanging patterns constant as the sky
On which unending changes may be rung
Worked round about by threes as from on high
Sweet hymns in three-part harmony are sung,
Both more and less complex than e'er it seems:
Grace moves, embodied in a human form,
On grass as green as youth, or hope, or dreams,
And summer nestles there, through every wintry storm,
And lights our minds with memory's fleeting gleams:
Thus, feeding on that hope, our hearts stay warm.
Eliot in April
"April is the cruelest month,
Breeding lilacs out of the dead ground."
An odd slur, that, to lay upon a month:
That it breeds lilacs, when all around
The fragile flowers and fragrance bring
(And from dead ground!) sweet life to scenes
Emerging, so slowly, from winter into spring.
No, I'll tell you what he really means:
T.S. Eliot was a baseball fan,
And probably an Orioles man.
He looked up from his box scores one bleak day,
And "April is the cruelest month," he said.
He meant the standings--but you can't say
"April--and even Boston is ahead"
Not if you're Eliot, at any rate.
"We can't hit, or pitch, or even field the ball"
Is not the stuff that makes a poet great,
But he could not forget the line at all.
And so he hit on lilacs to explain
(Though poorly) all that April pain.
The Centerfielder (Freddie Lynn...)
In mind's eye he is forever poised
Above the earth; all lift of air,
All blaze of fire and liquid grace of water,
And short, just barely short, of flight.
Earth claims, but cannot hold, him:
He belongs to other, lighter, elements:
Fire which possesses and defines him,
And the air in which he almost flies.
Home Thoughts from Abroad, or, Browning Discovers Baseball
Oh, to be in America,
Now that April's there,
For whoever wakes in America
Sees each morning, unaware,
How the box scores in the papers lie
With the stats and the articles spread nearby
And the pictures of men and balls on the fly
In America, now.
Three Run Homers, or, Rupert Brooke Celebrates Baseball
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a three
Run homer when the team is pressed
Against the wall and quite distressed,
A homer that may at evening scare
A nighthawk circling in the air,
Or, 'neath the arc lights blazing bright,
Restore the score and set things right,
Rescue the pitcher and save the game,
And set the home team crowd aflame:
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only heroes knock in three.
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