LINE-UP FOR YESTERDAY… Celebrating the 117th Season of Major League Baseball with Ogden Nash

Federic Ogden Nash (1902-1971), American Poet of light verse, unconvential rhymes, author, lyricist and pianist

Federic Ogden Nash (1902-1971), American Poet of light verse, unconvential rhymes, author, lyricist and pianist

major_league_baseball-svgWho better to celebrate the beginning of the 117th Major League Baseball season in the U.S. than poet Ogden Nash? He was an American poet known for the unconventional and humourous expressed in rhymed poems. He made strategic use of misspellings and puns or twists on famous poems or sayings. One of my faves pokes fun at Joyce Kilmer’s Trees.  “I think that I shall never see/ A poem as lovely as a tree.” v. Ogden’s version, which switches “billboard” for “poem”  … “Indeed, unless the billboards fall / I’ll never see a tree at all.”

Nash was a prodigious baseball fan and wrote Line-Up for Yesterday, an alphabetical listing of prominent players he admired. It was published in Sport magazine in 1949.

A is for Alex
The great Alexander;
More Goose eggs he pitched
Than a popular gander.

B is for Bresnahan
Back of the plate;
The Cubs were his love,
and McGraw his hate.

C is for Cobb,
Who grew spikes and not corn,
And made all the basemen
Wish they weren’t born.

D is for Dean,
The grammatical Diz,
When the asked, Who’s the tops?
Said correctly, I is.

E is for Evers,
His jaw in advance;
Never afraid
To Tinker with Chance.

F is for Fordham
And Frankie and Frisch;
I wish he were back
With the Giants, I wish.

G is for Gehrig,
The Pride of the Stadium;
His record pure gold,
His courage, pure radium.

H is for Hornsby;
When pitching to Rog,
The pitcher would pitch,
Then the pitcher would dodge.

I is for Me,
Not a hard-hitting man,
But an outstanding all-time
Incurable fan.

J is for Johnson
The Big Train in his prime
Was so fast he could throw
Three strikes at a time.

K is for Keeler,
As fresh as green paint,
The fastest and mostest
To hit where they ain’t.

L is for Lajoie
Whom Clevelanders love,
Napoleon himself,
With glue in his glove.

M is for Matty,
Who carried a charm
In the form of an extra
brain in his arm.

N is for Newsom,
Bobo’s favorite kin.
You ask how he’s here,
He talked himself in.

O is for Ott
Of the restless right foot.
When he leaned on the pellet,
The pellet stayed put.

P is for Plank,
The arm of the A’s;
When he tangled with Matty
Games lasted for days.

Q is for Don Quixote
Cornelius Mack;
Neither Yankees nor years
Can halt his attack.

R is for Ruth.
To tell you the truth,
There’s just no more to be said,
Just R is for Ruth.

S is for Speaker,
Swift center-field tender,
When the ball saw him coming,
It yelled, “I surrender.”

T is for Terry
The Giant from Memphis
Whose .400 average
You can’t overemphis.

U would be ‘Ubell
if Carl were a cockney;
We say Hubbell and Baseball
Like Football and Rockne.

V is for Vance
The Dodger’s very own Dazzy;
None of his rivals
Could throw as fast as he.

W, Wagner,
The bowlegged beauty;
Short was closed to all traffic
With Honus on duty.

X is the first
of two x’s in Foxx
Who was right behind Ruth
with his powerful soxx.

Y is for Young
The magnificent Cy;
People battled against him,
But I never knew why.

Z is for Zenith
The summit of fame.
These men are up there.
These men are the game.

-Ogden Nash

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HEADS-UP San Mateo, CA: Justice Action Mondays, Flash Activism

Unitarian Universalist Church of San Mateo California

Rev. Ben Meyers and the congregation of the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo (UUSM) invite area residents to join with them for Justice Action Mondays: Flash Activism. The gatherings run from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Postcards, stamps, other supplies, snacks and good conversation with like-minded people are provided.

This Monday, April 3, we will speak up for the planet, writing postcards to protest the executive order that rolls back many environmental programs. We will also start to make posters for our local Climate Marches in San Jose and Oakland on Earth Day, April 29. Come and speak up for the fish and the bees and the air we breathe!

UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISTS OF SAN MATEO, 300 E. Santa Inez Avenue, San Mateo, 94401, 650.342.5946 


RESIST

Rule #13 from On Tyranny, Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Center by Timothy Snyder: “Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.” (A must read. More to come on this. This recommendation comes from me, not UUSM.)

Poetry as Prayer … a little inspiration from Robert Lax …

Everything that exists
can turn to prayer;
even the water,
even the air.

– Robert Lax
A Song For Our Lady

If you are viewing this post from an email subscription, you’ll likely have to link through to watch the two short videos included today.

“And in the beginning was love. Love made a sphere: all things grew within it; the sphere then encompassed beginnings and endings, beginning and end. Love had a compass whose whirling dance traced out a sphere of love in the void: in the center thereof rose a fountain.”

– Robert Lax
from his renown poem, Circus in the Sun (about the circus of creation), it was read at Lax’s funeral in New York


“I think it’s a metaphysical concept
starting with Aristotle and flowering in St. Thomas
that God is pure act and that there is no potentía in him
…. Almost everything else in the universe is potentía,
it’s on its way to being pure act”

An excellent – award wining – biography – of Lax

Robert Lax (1915 – 2000) was an American poet who converted from Judaism to Catholicism. He has been called “saint,” “mystic, “one of the great enigmas of American poetry, “a pilgrim” and “a prophet.” His poems where innocent, ecstatic and even whimsical. Over time they became more and more minimalist … one simple word or strings of sounds stretched into long narrow word-cascades that sometimes stopped here and there to puddle.

“Robert Lax’s poems [prove] yet again that the gift to be simple is the gift to be free, that less is more, and that least may sometimes be most.”—John Ashbery

In addition to his poetry, Robert Lax is know for his friendship with the writer, poet and Trapist monk, Thomas Merton, also a convert to Catholicism.

Lax went to school with John Berryman and was mentor to Jack Kerouac. He was friends with and appreciated by the Beats and one of my fave writers, James Agee (A Death in the Family and – with photographer Walker Evens – Let Us Now Praise Men). Denise Levertove and e.e. commings numbered among Lax’s friends as well. He was also friends with the artist Ad Reinhart.

In 1962 Lax began his travels in Greece, settling into life as a hermit on the island of Patmos, seen by many as a sacred space. Patmos is the alleged site of the vision of and writing of the Christian Bible’s Book of Revelation. Because of that connection, the island is a destination for Christian pilgrimage.

Although Robert Lax lived quietly in Patmos and did nothing to promote his poetry or himself, people – including the Beats and other poets – came to visit him. He always welcomed his visitors and purposeful or accidental students. He was mentor to more than a few.

If poetry as prayer is a topic of interest, you could do worse than to explore Lax’s life and work. A light read and good introduction to this poet is The Way of the Dreamcatcher: Spirit Lessons with Robert Lax.  It was written by San Francisco writer, S.T. Georgiou (Greek Orthodox), who went to Patmos in search of some spiritual answers. As good fortune would have it, he met Robert Lax, became friends with him and visited often with him on several trips back to Patmos.  Subsequently, after Lax’s death, Georgiou wrote The Way of the Dreamcatcher, a book about this adventure in friendship, mentoring, the sacred and poetry.

Robert Lax received the National Council of the Arts Award in 1969.

Books by Robert Lax include:


“because yes – he likes to ‘write’ – but to ‘do’ – to do a particular thing – perhaps on paper (perhaps on canvas – perhaps in stone – perhaps, perhaps in a musical score) – a thing that will stand, a thing that will bear (that will sustain) repeated contemplation: a thing that will sustain long contemplation, and that will (in a ‘deep’ enough way) reward the beholder.”  Robert Lax, Love Had a Compass: Journals and Poetry


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This week’s recommened read.

THE WORDPLAY SHOP: recommened books, tools and supplies for poets, writers and readers is as a natural extension in support of this site and its mission to champion poets and writers and to broaden and to expand and continue to offer resources and inspiration, including information on opportunities for poets and writers.

 

but not the night, a poem . . . and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

dusk has fallen
near bereft of light
much to sorrow for
but not the night

– Jamie Dedes

“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” Sarah Williams, From The Old Astronomer (To His  Pupil)


WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

How do YOU generally receive the night? With joy, reluctance or fear? Do you sleep well or not? Tell us in poem or prose. If you would feel comfortable doing so, please put a link to your  response in the comments section below – or, if the work is short enough – just include it there that we might all enjoy it.  Responses to Wednesday Writing Prompts are published here on the following Tuesday.


SHOP

This week’s recommened read.

THE WORDPLAY SHOP, recommened books, tools and supplies for poets, writers and readersis a natural extension in support of this site and its mission to champion poets and writers and to broaden and to expand and continue to offer resources and inspiration, including information on opportunities for poets and writers.