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  #1  
Unread 01-29-2021, 04:38 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Default Sports Poetry

There's a long tradition of this, going back at least to the funeral games mentioned in Homer. Post your faves here.

I'll start with links to Ernest Lawrence Thayer's "Casey at the Bat" and Howard Nemerov's "Watching Football on TV" (you'll have to turn the virtual pages of the Poetry issue to read all seven stanzas of the latter).

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 01-29-2021 at 04:49 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 01-29-2021, 04:41 PM
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Makes me want to open up my complete Pindar translation again.
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  #3  
Unread 01-29-2021, 06:27 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
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The Hunter

The hunter crouches in his blind
’Neath camouflage of every kind,
And conjures up a quacking noise
To lend allure to his decoys.
This grown-up man, with pluck and luck,
is hoping to outwit a duck.

—Ogden Nash

(By the way, I don't consider hunting a sport. The animals don't, either. A sport is an activity in which all of the participants agree to play.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 01-29-2021 at 06:29 PM.
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  #4  
Unread 01-29-2021, 06:36 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
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The Ball Poem
By John Berryman

What is the boy now, who has lost his ball.
What, what is he to do? I saw it go
Merrily bouncing, down the street, and then
Merrily over—there it is in the water!
No use to say 'O there are other balls':
An ultimate shaking grief fixes the boy
As he stands rigid, trembling, staring down
All his young days into the harbour where
His ball went. I would not intrude on him,
A dime, another ball, is worthless. Now
He senses first responsibility
In a world of possessions. People will take balls,
Balls will be lost always, little boy,
And no one buys a ball back. Money is external.
He is learning, well behind his desperate eyes,
The epistemology of loss, how to stand up
Knowing what every man must one day know
And most know many days, how to stand up
And gradually light returns to the street,
A whistle blows, the ball is out of sight.
Soon part of me will explore the deep and dark
Floor of the harbour . . I am everywhere,
I suffer and move, my mind and my heart move
With all that move me, under the water
Or whistling, I am not a little boy.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poe.../the-ball-poem
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  #5  
Unread 01-29-2021, 06:51 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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XVII: ‘Twice a Week the Winter thorough’.

Twice a week the winter thorough
Here stood I to keep the goal:
Football then was fighting sorrow
For the young man’s soul.

Now in Maytime to the wicket
Out I march with bat and pad:
See the son of grief at cricket
Trying to be glad.

Try I will; no harm in trying:
Wonder ’tis how little mirth
Keeps the bones of man from lying
On the bed of earth.

-A. E. Housman.




I like this one for the misery more than for the sport. 'thorough' in the first line is an archaic form of 'through'.

Last edited by Matt Q; 01-29-2021 at 06:54 PM.
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  #6  
Unread 01-29-2021, 06:52 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
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400-Meter Freestyle
Maxine Kumin

http://mssandersonsouthcache.weebly....e_allpages.pdf
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  #7  
Unread 01-29-2021, 06:58 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
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Success is counted sweetest
Emily Dickinson

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne'er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple Host
Who took the Flag today
Can tell the definition
So clear of victory

As he defeated – dying –
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poe...d-sweetest-112
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  #8  
Unread 01-29-2021, 07:05 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Baseball's Sad Lexicon
Franklin Pierce Adams

These are the saddest of possible words:
     “Tinker to Evers to Chance.”
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
     Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
     Making a Giant hit into a double—
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
     “Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

Published: New York Evening Mail (July 10, 1910)

This legendary poem pays tribute to Chicago Cubs shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers and first baseman Frank Chance. The trio first appeared in their infield positions together on September 13, 1902, and they turned their first double play on September 15, 1902.

The author was Franklin Pierce Adams, who was a sportswriter for the New York Evening Mail, and briefly a poet thanks to an article that his editors said was too short — making him pen "Baseball's Sad Lexicon" to fill that space while on his way to cover a game at the Polo Grounds.

[Adapted from Baseball Almanac]

[CORRECTION: According to another source, Adams was definitely not "briefly a poet":

Quote:
Adams' poetry is light and conventionally rhymed. He hated free verse and was never slow in expressing this opinion. His verse is collected in 10 volumes, beginning with Tobogganning on Parnassus (1911); the final volume, The Melancholy Lute (1936), is Adams' selection from 30 years of his writing.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 01-30-2021 at 09:11 AM.
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  #9  
Unread 01-29-2021, 07:34 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is online now
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Body and Soul, by BH Fairchild, is the best sports poem I can think of. And here's one I suspect you all know, but it belongs on the thread:

Pitcher

by Robert Francis

His art is eccentricity, his aim
How not to hit the mark he seems to aim at,

His passion how to avoid the obvious,
His technique how to vary the avoidance.

The others throw to be comprehended. He
Throws to be a moment misunderstood.

Yet not too much. Not errant, arrant, wild,
But every seeming aberration willed.

Not to, yet still, still to communicate
Making the batter understand too late.
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  #10  
Unread 01-29-2021, 10:01 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
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Yes, Roger, "The Pitcher" is a great poem. Here's another by Francis:

The Base Stealer

Poised between going on and back, pulled
Both ways taut like a tightrope-walker,
Fingertips pointing the opposites,
Now bouncing tiptoe like a dropped ball
Or a kid skipping rope, come on, come on,
Running a scattering of steps sidewise,
How he teeters, skitters, tingles, teases,
Taunts them, hovers like an ecstatic bird,
He's only flirting, crowd him, crowd him,
Delicate, delicate, delicate, delicate - now!
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