Analysis of Baseball Poem. Garrison Keillor’s “Good Poems: Selected & Introduced by Garrison Keillor” (July 2008)

Susan's Thursday morning note July 17, 2008 
Analysis of Baseball Poem (Garrison Keillor's Good Poems: Selected & Introduced by Garrison Keillor)

Good morning!  I hope some of you had the same moon as we did last night.  The colors of a “harvest moon” – full and deep auburn – in July.  A quiet, thinking moon.  I wonder what he was thinking peering down on us all sleeping…one of those scenes that is hard to not have a tinge of regret as you see the beauty, for you know the beauty is momentary.  Have you ever handled a book initially because of the beautiful cover?  I brought home two books this week because they were absolutely beautiful.  Two books of poetry compiled by Garrison Keillor from poems that he’s read on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac.  If you haven’t had a chance to hear his poems read daily (as I don’t usually get a chance) you can get them downloaded free onto your MP3 player, or you can create a shortcut on your computer to go to his poetry of the day and read the script.  The site is and I have this as one of my shortcuts when I first turn on the computer.  A quick way to read something short and usually thought-provoking, almost always enjoyable.  Garrison writes in the introduction of his poetry that when he picks a poem for his radio program he must pick a poem that will capture someone’s attention when they have the radio only in the background.  What will they be able to listen to as they’re gathering children, as they’re driving, as they’re talking, as they’re thinking at work?  A poem that is short enough for them to then think about that day.

Here is a poem that was a fun one.  I’ll bet you can immediately think of different brothers, dads, sons, friends that would love this one!

Analysis of Baseball

It’s about
the ball,
the bat,
and the mitt.
Ball hits
bat, or it
hits mitt.
Bat doesn’t
hit ball, bat
meets it.
Ball bounces
off bat, flies
air, or thuds
ground (dud)
or it
fits mitt.

Bat waits
for ball
to mate.
Ball hates to take bat’s
bait.  Ball
flirts, bat’s
late, don’t
keep the date.

Ball goes in (thwack) to mitt,
and goes out (thwack) back
to mitt.

Ball fits
mitt, but
not all
the time.
ball gets hit
(pow) when bat
meets it,
and sails
to a place
where mitt
has to quit
in disgrace.
That’s about
the bases
about 40,000
fans exploded.

It’s about
the ball,
the bat,
the mitt,
the bases,
and the fans.

It’s done
on a diamond,
and for fun.
It’s about
home, and it’s
about run.

Don’t you love that?  I did.  The last three lines – I wonder if he was thinking about our homes – picturing us discussing and watching baseball.  Do you think he was playing with the words even there?  At the age of seven it amazes me that Camden has fallen in love with a baseball team…the Cubs.  And the love is only out of his own idea.  Just amazing that under no brainwashing, coercion, clothing purchased, magnets on refrigerators, caps on him and his father – amazing that he just happens to have picked the same team as his daddy.  When he did mention Yankees once…um…wisdom tells me I should think twice before stating the repercussions in print…Home.  Baseball.  Two words that intermingle.  Loved the poem!  There were so many poems in these books you’d love.  I’ll order them right away.  I hated bringing them home – the space on the table they had been at the store looked so bare without their bright, beautiful blue & yellow covers still laying there.  Have I ever told you how annoying it is when you buy what looks good in the store!??!?!  (grin!) Have a great day – and if it’s a hard day, know that there are many around (if not in your personal world of people, then from authors of our books) that have been where you are and can give you their words of comfort.  Thanks so much for coming into our little store for what you need.  We love being here and are so glad you’re in our story.  Go take on your day.  Make yourself proud with decisions you make and thoughts you have.  Susan

Latin for this week: 
VENI VIDI VICI - I came, I saw, I conquered.  (Cesar's message back to the Senate in Rome after a great defeat in May 47 B.C.)
Veni, Vidi, Fiji - I Came, I Saw, I ran away as far as possible!

Works Cited:
Keillor, Garrison.  Good Poems: Selected & Introduced by Garrison Keillor.  Penguin Putnam.  2002.

Keillor, Garrison.  Good Poems for Hard Times: Selected & Introduced by Garrison Keillor.  Penguin Putnam.  2005.