As the First Gulf War began, I watched
the Cardinals – in their brewery
sponsored stadium in downtown St Louis –
beat the ‘Frisco Giants. The home team
is named for the scarlet-breasted bird –
the visitors (aka the New York
Gothams before they went west) for chuzpah.
The fixture was part of the USA’s
annual baseball World Series, which,
of course, includes no teams from abroad.

It was a weekday, early evening –
very much a family occasion.
The programme, advertising caps and tee-shirts,
urged us to ‘think of our boys in the Gulf.’
Most of the players had Hispanic names.
In the intervals, the black vendors
climbed the terraced steps. ‘Any of you farmers
want a coke?’ they called and the mostly white
crowd took no offence Missouri being
a state of farms – soya beans and hogs.
Meanwhile, the quadrille of baseball resumed,
its restrained drama accompanied by the theme
from Jaws each time a player made a home run.

As twilight became night, I remembered
the wide river a couple of blocks away –
rising in the hills of Minnesota
and debouching, two thousand miles
and more, through the shining, shifting Delta
into an altogether different gulf –
and I thought of the immense Republic’s
dark, inviolate fields.




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  1. #1 by Steve Crewe - November 30th, 2014 at 14:39

    Poignant as befitting the month, David.

    However, I have to spoil the Cardinals v Giants game in that the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 and again in 1993, though those are the only occasions on which a ‘foreign’ team has won the World Series. Of course, there are no American teams if you’re looking at the diverse nationalities of the players!

  2. #2 by David Selzer - November 30th, 2014 at 19:51

    Ah, my error, Steve. However, I’ll pretend I was misinformed! I’ll leave the error in the poem for the moment and see if it attracts comments from my American readers. PS I’m in awe of your knowledge of the World Series.

  3. #3 by John Huddart - December 21st, 2014 at 00:50

    The poem with its portentous title, ironically contrasted with its subject, does a fine job in summing up the US. The mention of the World Series is entirely appropriate for a poem that deals with a country embarking on a real world series beyond its shores.

  4. #4 by David Selzer - December 21st, 2014 at 13:29

    Thank you – but please see Steve Crewe’s comment on the same poem and my response.

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