Poetry Friday: Analysis of Baseball by May Swenson

April 18, 2008

I am pleased to partake in Poetry Friday for the second time. Find the poetry round up at The Well-Read Child.

Ah, April, the start of a new life cycle: baseball. I’m serious, with that first pitch, catch, throw to first, or home run, each diehard baseball fan feels new life. Like the proverbial Sampson, a baseball fan’s locks of strength are shorn sometime in October after his team is booted out of the playoffs, and now in April (O, lovely April) they are once again flowing long, giving renewed vigor to the fanatic.

When the words ‘baseball’ and ‘poetry’ are somewhere in eachother’s vicinity, the most popular and universal answer is “Casey at the Bat.” Yeah, yeah, something about mud and Casey and no more laughter and “Flynn a-hugging third.” After this brief plunge into fond recalling of baseball poetics, there is a lull, a general “What, you mean there are other poems about baseball? Isn’t Casey enough?”

No my friends, while Casey at the Bat is a rightfully well-loved classic, it is not enough. Analysis of Baseball by May Swenson is another favorite baseball poem that also deserves be read and remembered.

Analysis of Baseball
by May Swenson

It’s about
the ball,
the bat,
and the mitt.
Ball hits
bat, or it
hits mitt.
Bat doesn’t
hit ball, bat
meets it.
Ball bounces
off bat, flies
air, or thuds
ground (dud)
or it
fits mitt.

Bat waits
for ball
to mate.
Ball hates
to take bat’s
bait. Ball
flirts, bat’s
late, don’t
keep the date.
Ball goes in
(thwack) to mitt,
and goes out
(thwack) back
to mitt.

Ball fits
mitt, but
not all
the time.
Sometimes
ball gets hit
(pow) when bat
meets it,
and sails
to a place
where mitt
has to quit
in disgrace.
That’s about
the bases
loaded,
about 40,000
fans exploded.

It’s about
the ball,
the bat,
the mitt,
the bases
and the fans.
It’s done
on a diamond,
and for fun.
It’s about
home, and it’s
about run.

I find it very easy to blur the lines between baseball and poetry. I see poetry in the fluid grace of a shortstop, the rythmic motions between pitcher and catcher, the raw drama in the worry lines etched into a manager’s face, the anguish and redemtion experienced regularly as a fan or player. It is never hard to find poetry in excellence, and baseball is excellent.

So I invite you, baseball and poetry fans alike, to venture into eachother’s home stadiums…to the blue collar Yankees fan, “Discover some baseball poetry…read Analysis of Baseball by May Swenson and more,” and to the quiet, librarian-esque poetry lover, “Go eat a hot dog and dive for a fly ball.”

…and, GO DIAMONDBACKS!

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3 Responses to “Poetry Friday: Analysis of Baseball by May Swenson”

  1. jama Says:

    Hi there! Maybe I can leave the link at the right post this time 🙂 — http://jamarattigan.livejournal.com/93653.html

    Hope this works; if not, please stop by the blog and click on the TEA PARTY link in my sidebar.

    Have a great weekend!! Nice to *meet* you.
    (There’s no messing around with Sox fans!)

  2. Mme T Says:

    The alliteration, the rythm! I love this poem. I don’t have an affinity for baseball and this poem comes about as close to playing it as I’ll ever get.


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