More non-baseball related stuff

After a recent paucity of postings I’m taking the bold step of posting two entries in two days, so consider this a makeup assignment of sorts.  I was pleasantly surprised by the response to my recent article on National Poetry Month and even had the distinct privilege to hear from one of the authors on my list of poetry favorites, Anne Pierson Wiese.  As the type of person who never really needed much encouragement to write about things like poetry in the first place, I am going to take advantage of the momentum from the first poetry post to go ahead and incorporate some more poetry into my entries for at least the duration of the month and maybe beyond.  So continuing in that vein I’d like to share a couple poems by W.H. Auden before returning (mostly) to more baseball related stuff in my upcoming posts.  Enjoy.

 

Musee des Beaux Arts

About suffering they were never wrong,

The Old Masters; how well, they understood

Its human position; how it takes place

While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;

How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting

For the miraculous birth, there always must be

Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating

On a pond at the edge of the wood:

They never forgot

That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course

Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot

Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse

Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away

Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may

Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,

But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone

As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green

Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen

Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,

had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

 

This first poem requires a bit of a footnote.  The title refers to the name of a Belgian museum that houses a painting called Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, ostensibly by the elder Pieter Brueghel.  I have presented the painting for you viewing pleasure, but the specific history of the painting and its subject matter both make for interesting additional reading if you care to do some additional reading.

 

Brueghel, Pieter (Elder)--Fall of Icarus (1555).jpg 

 

As I Walked Out One Evening

As I walked out one evening,

Walking down Bristol Street,

The crowds upon the pavement

Were fields of harvest wheat.

 

And down by the brimming river

I heard a lover sing

Under an arch of the railway:

‘Love has no ending.

 

‘I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you

Till China and Africa meet,

And the river jumps over the mountain

And the salmon sing in the street,

 

‘I’ll love you till the ocean

Is folded and hung up to dry

And the seven stars go squawking

Like geese about the sky.

 

‘The years shall run like rabbits,

For in my arms I hold

The Flower of the Ages,

And the first love of the world.’

 

But all the clocks in the city

Began to whirr and chime:

‘O let not Time deceive you,

You cannot conquer Time.

 

‘In the burrows of the Nightmare

Where Justice naked is,

Time watches from the shadow

And coughs when you would kiss.

 

‘In headaches and in worry

Vaguely life leaks away,

And Time will have his fancy

To-morrow or to-day.

 

‘Into many a green valley

Drifts the appalling snow;

Time breaks the threaded dances

And the diver’s brilliant bow.

 

‘O plunge your hands in water,

Plunge them in up to the wrist;

Stare, stare in the basin

And wonder what you’ve missed.

 

‘The glacier knocks in the cupboard,

The desert sighs in the bed,

And the crack in the tea-cup opens

A lane to the land of the dead.

 

‘Where the beggars raffle the banknotes

And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,

And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,

And Jill goes down on her back.

 

‘O look, look in the mirror?

O look in your distress:

Life remains a blessing

Although you cannot bless.

 

‘O stand, stand at the window

As the tears scald and start;

You shall love your crooked neighbour

With your crooked heart.’

 

It was late, late in the evening,

The lovers they were gone;

The clocks had ceased their chiming,

And the deep river ran on.

2 comments

  1. scp723@aol.com

    Hi Neil,

    So, I actually just spent all of last night writing a huge paper about “Song of Myself”…how weird is that?
    Anyway, now I’m working on another big project…an analysis of MLB draft trends over the past 7 years. When I was reading your profile it caught my attention that you’re from Minnesota and went to school in North Dakota, both of which are fairly nontraditional draft states. I was actually in Minneapolis last month for a student conference, and let’s just say I regretted not packing my gloves…haha. If possible, I’d love to ask you a few short questions about your experiences with youth baseball and the draft. It would be about 5 questions, and nothing too crazy. I promise.

    If you think this would be possible, please email me. If not, thanks anyway and good luck this season!

    -Stacey
    scp723@aol.com

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