Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Poetry: "Baseball and Writing," by Marianne Moore

Over the next few days, I'll be attending three baseball games in the company of my brother. So, with no further ado, today's poem is Marianne Moore's "Baseball and Writing." You can find today's poem in Moore's Complete Poems. Although... I disagree with her assertion that baseball is exciting. I, for one, can't wait for it to get jazzed up a bit--Futurama's Blernsball would be an acceptable upgrade.

"Baseball and Writing"
by Marianne Moore

(Suggested by post-game broadcasts)

Fanaticism?  No.  Writing is exciting and baseball is like writing.    You can never tell with either       how it will go       or what you will do;    generating excitement--    a fever in the victim--    pitcher, catcher, fielder, batter.  Victim in what category? Owlman watching from the press box?  To whom does it apply?  Who is excited?  Might it be I?  It's a pitcher's battle all the way--a duel-- a catcher's, as, with cruel    puma paw, Elston Howard lumbers lightly       back to plate.  (His spring        de-winged a bat swing.)    They have that killer instinct;    yet Elston--whose catching    arm has hurt them all with the bat--  when questioned, says, unenviously,    "I'm very satisfied.  We won."  Shorn of the batting crown, says, "We";  robbed by a technicality.  When three players on a side play three positions and modify conditions,    the massive run need not be everything.       "Going, going . . . "  Is       it?  Roger Maris    has it, running fast.  You will    never see a finer catch.  Well . . .    "Mickey, leaping like the devil"--why  gild it, although deer sounds better-- snares what was speeding towards its treetop nest,  one-handing the souvenir-to-be  meant to be caught by you or me.  Assign Yogi Berra to Cape Canaveral; he could handle any missile.    He is no feather.  "Strike! . . . Strike two!"       Fouled back.  A blur.       It's gone.  You would infer    that the bat had eyes.    He put the wood to that one. Praised, Skowron says, "Thanks, Mel.    I think I helped a little bit."  All business, each, and modesty.         Blanchard, Richardson, Kubek, Boyer.  In that galaxy of nine, say which  won the pennant?  Each.  It was he.  Those two magnificent saves from the knee-throws by Boyer, finesses in twos--    like Whitey's three kinds of pitch and pre-       diagnosis       with pick-off psychosis.    Pitching is a large subject.    Your arm, too true at first, can learn to    catch your corners--even trouble  Mickey Mantle.  ("Grazed a Yankee! My baby pitcher, Montejo!"  With some pedagogy,  you'll be tough, premature prodigy.)  They crowd him and curve him and aim for the knees.  Trying indeed!  The secret implying:    "I can stand here, bat held steady."       One may suit him;        none has hit him.    Imponderables smite him.    Muscle kinks, infections, spike wounds    require food, rest, respite from ruffians.  (Drat it!  Celebrity costs privacy!) Cow's milk, "tiger's milk," soy milk, carrot juice,  brewer's yeast (high-potency--  concentrates presage victory  sped by Luis Arroyo, Hector Lopez-- deadly in a pinch.  And "Yes,    it's work; I want you to bear down,       but enjoy it       while you're doing it."    Mr. Houk and Mr. Sain,    if you have a rummage sale,    don't sell Roland Sheldon or Tom Tresh.  Studded with stars in belt and crown, the Stadium is an adastrium.  O flashing Orion,  your stars are muscled like the lion. 


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