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BASEBALL IN A NORTHERN TOWN



Base runners,

like rifle-shot,

ready to go

if the catcher

can’t corral

a wild-bronco

pitch.

Arching fly balls

caught on the run

in left center,

surprised

ecstacy.

Deliberate pitchers,

care-worn

with responsibility,

bright young faces

overshadowed by

the metric of

balls and

strikes.

Eager parents

waiting on their

child’s success,

eye’s aflame

in their own

memory.

Baseball.

On a field of dreams,

Small-town America’s

signature.

Sandlot once removed,

athletes still in runners.

Soft summer nights,

drifting through daylight.

Laughter still at the careless throw

back to the pitcher’s mound.

Quiet acceptance

of the umpire’s call,

Brave walk to the dugout

under the watchful glance

of a coach’s smiling eyes.

A miss. “But at least

you swung at that pitch!”

Rewarded effort,

Life’s lesson learned.

Rocketed throw from third,

into the embrace of a first-

baseman’s glove.

Deep satisfaction,

mutually shared.

Life lesson #2.

A faint glimpse of disapproval

when a pitch fails outside

the umpire’s strike zone.

But the game moves on.

Lesson #3.

Joy and sadness,

Disapproval and resolve,

Disappointment and glory.

The rules of the game.

Who covers second on a hit

up the middle with a man

on first?

All encompassed in this field

of mostly green and sand.

Fretful urgency

waiting for

and watching their

children grow up.

Scuffed baseballs

returned to the umpire’s hand

because now they know better.

Still, a young person’s game,

with the world waiting on-deck.


Innocence at play

Rounding third

And headed for home.


From this book of free-verse poetry. Everything from regional "poems" about Saganaga, campfire cooking, Grand Portage to portraits of loss, memory, gratitude and place.