Poetry I Dig


This is one of the greatest poems ever written!  Thank you Marge Piercy!

I love you hot
I love you iced and in a pinch
I will even consume you tepid.

Dark brown as wet bark of an apple tree,
dark as the waters flowing out of a spooky swamp
rich with tannin and smelling of thick life—

but you have your own scent that even
rising as steam kicks my brain into gear.
I drink you rancid out of vending machines,

I drink you at coffee bars for $6 a hit,
I drink you dribbling down my chin from a thermos
in cars, in stadiums, on the moonwashed beach.

Mornings you go off in my mouth like an electric
siren, radiating to my fingertips and toes.
You rattle my spine and buzz in my brain.

Whether latte, cappuccino, black or Greek
you keep me cooking, you keep me on line.
Without you, I would never get out of bed

but spend my life pressing the snooze
button. I would creep through wan days
in the form of a large shiny slug.

You waken in me the gift of speech when I
am dumb as a rock buried in damp earth.
It is you who make me human every dawn.
All my books are written with your ink.

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I’ll probably only join Rice’s ranks if I do it myself.

Let’s start with the New York Sun version from 17 August 1948

Game Called

“Game Called by darkness — let the curtain fall.
No more remembered thunder sweeps the field.
No more the ancient echoes hear the call
To one who wore so well both sword and shield:
The Big Guy’s left us with the night to face
And there is no one who can take his place.

“Game Called — and silence settles on the plain.
Where is the crash of ash against the sphere?
Where is the mighty music, the refrain
That once brought joy to every waiting ear?
The Big Guy’s left us lonely in the dark
Forever waiting for the flaming spark.

“Game Called — what more is there for us to say?
How dull and drab the field looks to the eye
For one who ruled it in a golden day
Has waved his cap to bid us all good-bye.
The Big Guy’s gone — by land or sea or foam
May the Great Umpire call him ‘safe at home.'”

Now for the 1956 version from the Fireside Book of Baseball:

Game Called

“Game Called. Across the field of play
the dusk has come, the hour is late.
The fight is done and lost or won,
the player files out through the gate.
The tumult dies, the cheer is hushed,
the stands are bare, the park is still.
But through the night there shines the light,
home beyond the silent hill.

“Game Called. Where in the golden light
the bugle rolled the reveille.
The shadows creep where night falls deep,
and taps has called the end of play.
The game is done, the score is in,
the final cheer and jeer have passed.
But in the night, beyond the fight,
the player finds his rest at last.

“Game Called. Upon the field of life
the darkness gathers far and wide,
the dream is done, the score is spun
that stands forever in the guide.
Nor victory, nor yet defeat
is chalked against the players name.
But down the roll, the final scroll,
shows only how he played the game.”

Lastly, here’s my humble attempt to pay homage to the greatest sport on the space-time continuum:

Home

All the players try to reach me.

They want to leave me at first,

But they’ll long for me when they’re gone.

I won’t see most of them

Until the next AB.

 

All the spectators want to sit behind me.

Those who make it to the coveted seats

Brag to all their friends.

They paid more than the people above them.

I am so small to them.

 

I may become dusty and covered with play,

But I am respected; they will clean me.

They want the boy coming to me to see me

When he stretches his hand as if he were saving me.

The man in black says “safe.”

 

The good ones, the really good ones,

They want to see me more than the rest.

They practice, hone, and prepare

To return in 120 steps; 360 feet.

The books will call them great.

 

Game over; papers waiting on stats.

I won’t be seen until tomorrow

Unless it’s September,

And I’ll be forgotten awhile,

But I will be sore missed.

 

The lights remain to help those behind me,

And those above them,

To go where the players have dreamed

All season–162 games–

They want to come to me.

 

Home.