Robert Pinsky |
Some of us believe
We would have conceived romantic
Love out of our own passions
With no precedents,
Without songs and poetry--
Or have invented poetry and music
As a comb of cells for the honey.
Shaped by ignorance,
A succession of new worlds,
Congruities improvised by
Immigrants or children.
I once thought most people were Italian,
Jewish or Colored.
To be white and called
Something like Ed Ford
A rare distinction.
Possibly I believed only gentiles
And blonds could be left-handed.
After one year in the majors,
Whitey Ford was drafted by the Army
To play ball in the flannels
Of the Signal Corps, stationed
In Long Branch, New Jersey.
A night game, the silver potion
Of the lights, his pink skin
Shining like a burn.
Never a player
I liked or hated: a Yankee,
A mere success.
But white the chalked-off lines
In the grass, white and green
The immaculate uniform,
And white the unpigmented
Halo of his hair
When he shifted his cap:
So ordinary and distinct,
So close up, that I felt
As if I could have made him up,
Imagined him as I imagined
The ball, a scintilla
High in the black backdrop
Of the sky.
Tight red stitches.
Horsehide white: the color
Color of the past
And of the future, of the movie screen
At rest and of blank paper.
"I could have.
" The mind.
Backdrop, the white
Fly picked out by the towering
A few years later
On a blanket in the grass
By the same river
A girl and I came into
To the faint muttering
Troubadours and radios.
Theater, the night.
I devised a left-hander
Even more gifted
Than Whitey Ford: A Dodger.
People were amazed by him.
Once, when he was young,
He refused to pitch on Yom Kippur.
Les Murray |
Back, in my fifties, fatter that I was then,
I step on the sand, belch down slight horror to walk
a wincing pit edge, waiting for the pistol shot
Long greening waves cash themselves, foam change
sliding into Ocean's pocket.
She turns: ridicule looks down,
strappy, with faces averted, or is glare and families.
The great hawk of the beach is outstretched, point to point,
quivering and hunting.
Cars are the stuff at its back.
You peer, at this age, but it's still there, ridicule,
the pistol that kills women, that gets them killed, crippling men
on the towel-spattered sand.
Equality is dressed, neatly,
with mouth still shut.
Bared body is not equal ever.
Some are smiled to each other.
Many surf, swim, play ball:
like that red boy, holding his wet T shirt off his breasts.
Ambrose Bierce |
Thou shalt no God but me adore:
'Twere too expensive to have more.
No images nor idols make
For Roger Ingersoll to break.
Take not God's name in vain: select
A time when it will have effect.
Work not on Sabbath days at all,
But go to see the teams play ball.
Honor thy parents.
For life insurance lower rates.
Kill not, abet not those who kill;
Thou shalt not pay thy butcher's bill.
Kiss not thy neighbor's wife, unless
Thine own thy neighbor doth caress.
Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete
Successfully in business.
Bear not false witness--that is low--
But "hear 'tis rumored so and so.
Covet thou naught that thou hast got
By hook or crook, or somehow, got.