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The Night Game Analysis

Author: poem of Robert Pinsky Type: poem Views: 16

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Some of us believe

We would have conceived romantic

Love out of our own passions

With no precedents,

Without songs and poetry--

Or have invented poetry and music

As a comb of cells for the honey.

Shaped by ignorance,

A succession of new worlds,

Congruities improvised by

Immigrants or children.

I once thought most people were Italian,

Jewish or Colored.

To be white and called

Something like Ed Ford

Seemed aristocratic,

A rare distinction.

Possibly I believed only gentiles

And blonds could be left-handed.

Already famous

After one year in the majors,

Whitey Ford was drafted by the Army

To play ball in the flannels

Of the Signal Corps, stationed

In Long Branch, New Jersey.

A night game, the silver potion

Of the lights, his pink skin

Shining like a burn.

Never a player

I liked or hated:  a Yankee,

A mere success.

But white the chalked-off lines

In the grass, white and green

The immaculate uniform,

And white the unpigmented

Halo of his hair

When he shifted his cap:

So ordinary and distinct,

So close up, that I felt

As if I could have made him up,

Imagined him as I imagined

The ball, a scintilla

High in the black backdrop

Of the sky.  Tight red stitches.

Rawlings.  The bleached

Horsehide white:  the color

Of nothing.  Color of the past

And of the future, of the movie screen

At rest and of blank paper.

"I could have."  The mind.  The black

Backdrop, the white

Fly picked out by the towering

Lights.  A few years later

On a blanket in the grass

By the same river

A girl and I came into

Being together

To the faint muttering

Of unthinkable

Troubadours and radios.

The emerald

Theater, the night.

Another time,

I devised a left-hander

Even more gifted

Than Whitey Ford:  A Dodger.

People were amazed by him.

Once, when he was young,

He refused to pitch on Yom Kippur.


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