Baseball introduced me to poetry. At the kitchen table on a rainy Sunday afternoon at age thirteen, I composed a rather lengthy poem in tribute to my favorite baseball player, calling it “The Ballad of Eddie Mathews,” actually a takeoff on a popular song at the time. Somehow it fell into the hands of my English teacher. Sensing some faint flicker of promise (or the complete opposite), she became my self-appointed tutor during the noon recess each day, introducing me to a new world of rhymes, beats, and sonnets.
Thereafter, I could only steal furtive glances outside, where the rest of the guys were whacking baseballs and running the bases in my beloved sport, all wrapped in visions of baseball glory--home runs into starry skies, ticker tape parades, the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. All the while I fidgeted in my one-armed wooden desk reciting the “daDUM, daDUM, daDUMs” of the endless dance of iambic pentameter. Only years later did I come to appreciate this curious lesson in irony. How could I not put those lunchtime hours to some use in the future?
After a lengthy detour into a legal career, I’ve come full circle. I suppose Mrs. Starr would be glad (and possibly astonished) to know that seven times my poems have been ranked as finalists in the Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, and ten poems have been selected on the short list for finalist or semifinalist in the Faulkner and Boulevard competitions. My poems have been published in Blueline, as an Editor’s Pick in Pooled Ink, and in the anthology Coffee Poems.
Thanks, Ms. Starr!
As a welcome to the website and an invitation to return, I would like to share with you an occasional original poem. These offerings will cover a variety of forms, subjects, emotions, and life events. I hope you enjoy them.
Thursday, July 02 2020
We’re into a year of surprise and mystery—
Making its mark in the world’s dark history.
Stores are closed and locked, and streets are bare.
The noisy crowds have all left
Closed tight are the doors of the butcher and baker,
The man of the hour is the toilet paper maker!
No more hanging in bars and getting all kooky—
Just stay home and dance to the “Quarantine Boogie”!
We’re all wearing masks and wiping things clean,
And many stay glued to the television screen.
If you have a day when you’re feeling grouchy,
Check the new rock star, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
People socialize on Facebook and visit through Zoom,
Maybe vacuum the floor or re-paint a bedroom,
Stare out the window, dreaming of travel,
Or spend the day playing checkers or Scrabble.
Holding hands or cuddling, or slowly canoeing,
No eager receiver of Cupid’s dart.
Even the fish are all swimming six feet apart!
Songbirds sit quietly in the leaves of a tree.
They can’t trill music through a mask freely.
It’s a weird world now, but we’ll make it rock,
All cheering for the medics at seven o’clock.
Though the world seems dark, the worst we’ve seen,
Our earth stunned and held hostage by Covid-19,
Throw in some protestors and an early curfew,
Some looting of stores, and our world’s all askew.
But there’ll come a day when the sun will rise,
Bringing rainbows and purity to clear blue skies.
There’ll be music and dancing, fresh air that’s clean,
Restaurants open and offering their finest cuisine.
Theaters and nightclubs will return with a flair,
The applause of Broadway again filling the air!
Then on to Montauk for the sandy beaches,
Steaks and seafood and strolling in breezes.
The world our oyster from coast to coast!
So come forth and listen, all my friends,
Around some future corner the party begins!
AND … after we’ve survived this long, bumpy ride,
We may find life’s even richer on the other side.
After a crash course in brotherhood and honoring our neighbor,
Perhaps we can all join hands and sing out together!
-Larkin Edwin Greer