Today is (finally) opening day of the 2020 baseball season. Back on March 26th, I published a baseball sonnet here, and people seemed to like it. So today, on day that, traditionally, symbolizes hope, I present a couple of more baseball poems I’ve written to help get you in the mood for upcoming season.

The first poem is a “golden shovel” poem after the line “Hope springs eternal in the human breast” from the greatest baseball poem of all time, “Casey At The Bat,” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer. For those who are unaware, golden shovel is a form of poetry wherein the poet takes a line or stanza from a famous poem, and uses the borrowed words as the end-words of each line of the new poem.

Opening Day
A Golden Shovel after Ernest Lawrence Thayer

There is one day each year when every team has hope
Which rises like a fever; in our hearts it springs
Recurring, eternal
Each year down in
The land of grapefruits and cacti it grows like the
First crocus incongruously purple in the snow. Until that day when it thaws the cold human Heart and lets hope—at least for one day—spring, again, eternal in the human breast

The second poem is describes an at bat.

The Strikeout

The bend of the arm,
Like the crack of the whip
That ball is on him,
Quick, quick, quick–

The fastball zips by,
A shot from a gun–
The batter swings through it,
Whiff—Strike one–

The ball is released,
The same as before.
The batter gears up,
To offer once more–

But here t
h
e
B
                     a
                            l
l
                           B
                     e
n
          d
s
It
d
r
o
p
s
to the dirt–
The curve ball has fooled him,
He almost got hurt.

0-2 is the count,
And one he will waste:
Though he started his cut,
The batter checked it with haste

Now here comes the next pitch.
Thrown true and straight–
The batter swings quickly,
So he won’t be late–

Midway through his hack,
Oh no! does he sing,
The pitcher has tricked him,
By p – u – l – l – i – n – g – t – h -e – s – t – r – i – n – g

He tries to hold up,
But he can not, you see–
Fooled by the change-up,
He’s swung through, strike three.

And, because people seemed to enjoy it last time, here is the sonnet I posted on what was originally supposed to be opening day:

That time of year thou mayst in fans behold
That malediction, fever of the spring
Surrounded by lingering snow and cold,
We dream of pennants and World Series rings.
With pride we root our noble heroes on
Eating hot dogs, peanuts, and crackerjacks
And all our worldly troubles fade, are gone
When that first pitch is thrown and bat doth crack
But Lo! When April fades to crueler months,
We reach the summer of our discontent
Like Mighty Casey in the Mudville ninth
Our hearts bereft of joy and merriment
Yet hope springs eternal for one and all,
When that blue-clad umpire calls out, “Play Ball!”

Happy opening day: Play Ball!

If you’re enjoying my poetry, please check out these two new anthologies, each of which includes one of my poems: Nassau County Voices In Verse; Prompting the Moon, and connect with me on facebooktwitter, and instagram for all my latest news and discussion.

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