Poetry Friday is here!

Welcome to Poetry Friday! It’s been a while since I’ve hosted and I’m so glad to be here!

This month Catherine Flynn chose our Inklings challenge prompt. She asked us to “Write a poem about any sport you have a connection to–one you participate(d) in or love to watch. Use any form you think works best.”

I must admit that I’m not much of a sports lover, but I do have a favorite sports-themed poem: Robert Francis’s “The Base Stealer.” I’m not sure how or when I first stumbled upon it, but it’s also been a perennial favorite with my fourth graders. It’s a short poem and choosing just one section to highlight is HARD! I wish I could share it in its entirety.

To provide some context, it begins like this:

“Poised between going on and back, pulled
Both ways taut like a tightrope-walker,”

A few lines later, the midsection is one of my favorite parts:

“Now bouncing tiptoe like a dropped ball
Or a kid skipping rope, come on, come on,
Running a scattering of steps sidewise,
How he teeters, skitters, tingles, teases,
Taunts them, hovers like an ecstatic bird,”

Fabulous, right!? It could almost make me believe that, as some say, baseball is poetry in motion. Here’s Robert Francis reading the poem in its entirety:

Or, if you prefer to read the poem yourself, click here.

Regardless of my love of this poem, Baseball is NOT my favorite sport by any stretch. I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but I find it pretty dang boring. I’m sure that’s because I don’t understand the nuances of the game. Regardless, I don’t view it with a favorable eye and I don’t have any warm and fuzzy memories of playing as a child. Still, I opted to focus on baseball for this sports-themed challenge. I’m sharing two responses, from two different perspectives.

©Molly Hogan, draft

Still In the Game

I wear no uniform
but my heart races
My eyes fix on their target
blood pounds in my ears
My hands grip, twitch and tense
The roar of the crowd
swells around me
I shift on the edge
of my seat
poised for triumph
or defeat

My kid’s up at bat.

©Molly Hogan, draft

If you’re interested in seeing what the other Inklings did with this challenge, click on the names below:

Linda Mitchell
Margaret Simon
Catherine Flynn
Heidi Mordhorst
MaryLee Hahn

Be sure to add your post to this week’s Roundup by joining the Inlinkz link party. I’m so looking forward to reading all of your poetry offerings 🙂 Here’s your formal invitation:

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

52 thoughts on “Poetry Friday is here!

  1. Linda Mitchell says:

    Oh, I love ‘Still in the Game.’ My hubby became a complete soccer enthusiast as our kids played…never really was before. Now, we are all in for Women’s World Cup Soccer. Thanks for the link to a baseball poem. I’m always looking for kid-friendly poems for my school’s springtime pandemonium. This one is a gem. I’m admitting that this month…I went rogue. Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I love watching soccer! I think I simply don’t have the patience for baseball. It just goes on and on and on… Also, I love that you went rogue this month!

      Like

  2. margaretsmn says:

    For someone who doesn’t love baseball, you can sure write about it. The concrete poem is wonderful with all the sensual details and the surprise ending of “Still in the Game” is a home run! Thanks for hosting this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tim Kulp says:

    Baseball is all the rage in my wife’s family. I’m not a fan but your poem is excellent. Thank you for sharing. I really like the sensory details you provide. To me, baseball = food.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. […] Hogan at her blog Nix the Comfort Zone, is our host for this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup, thanks Molly! She’s sharing some […]

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  5. Wonderful post Molly, I love Francis’ poem and reading. And for not being a baseball buff your poems are terrific, your brought me there in both, and I like the diamond sharpe too, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Laura Shovan says:

    I love the lips caked in gritty dust and your “go home” pun at the end of this anti-baseball poem, Molly.

    Due to website woes, I’ve been away from Poetry Friday for a few months. Glad to be back. It was International Jewish Day on August 2, so I’m sharing an original poem about baking challah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Welcome back, Laura! I’m sorry you’ve had website woes, but am delighted you’re joining us this weekend. Just the words “baking challah” have my mouth watering!

      Like

  7. gailaldousmsncom says:

    Molly, I understand how you feel about watching baseball. I find it boring to watch, also, though I did like playing softball. However, you hooked me with both of excellent poems! I especially love these lines in your concrete poem “It smells ripe with old sneakers’, “cakes my lips with gritty dust” and “makes me want to run home.” Great ending and I loved your ending on your second poem as well as the point of view coming from the perspective of a parent. You reminded me of some feelings I felt watching our girts play soccer for years. I love watching soccer because it is so active. Thank you for sharing all three poems and your inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      The activity of soccer appeals to me, too. I prefer to watch sports with definitive start and end times. That on-and-on-and-on feeling of baseball is a bit much for me! lol

      Like

  8. […] for more poetry? Molly Hogan is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, Nix the Comfort Zone with a couple of original baseball poems and all of today’s […]

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  9. Great job with your poems, Molly – I am not a huge fan of the sport, myself, so you’re not alone! I much prefer soccer, where the ball – and all the players – are in constant motion! Baseball does seem to drag. But that didn’t stop me from writing a baseball poem, either! Thanks for hosting.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Karen Edmisten says:

    I would be hard-pressed to write about a sport I’m connected to. (Competitive reading? A write-off?) 🙂 But you’ve done such a marvelous job, especially for someone who doesn’t like baseball! I can relate to both of your poems. The first describes my feelings about being at any sporting event and the second zooms in on the exception to that rule, the way circumstances shift due to love. Thanks, Molly.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, I especially love your “Still in the Game,” Molly! It’s a home run. While helping Morgan with the new baby all of June, I started to find myself actually invested in the Braves games they watch all the time… baseball’s been growing on me! ;0) (I don’t have a real post this week but will point to yours. Thanks for hosting!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Oh…baby spectating is the best spectator sport of all time! I have to admit that last year I enjoyed watching sports with my Dad and was so thankful that he had that interest, that it was still accessible to him, and that we could watch together.

      Like

  12. Molly, I love that you’re NOT a fan but wrote so beautifully about baseball anyway. I LOVE baseball; I think the biggest reason is, there’s no timeclock! It unfolds as it needs to. I raised my kids listening first to radio broadcast games, then taught them to score a game; to me, baseball represents part of what it means to be a child in summertime. And your words added to all of this! So thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      How wonderful that your love of baseball comes from no time clock and the fact that “it unfolds as it needs to.” That’s a new lens for me. I bet those baseball-infused memories must be precious to both you and to your children.

      Like

  13. Denise Krebs says:

    Molly, thanks for the baseball bonanza today. Unlike you, I love baseball! Watching and playing (or softball, more accurately). “The Base Stealer” poem is sweet. I love how you got into the game with your at bat poem. “cakes my lips with gritty dust”–wow! The title of “Still in the Game” is just perfect. A lot of parents can relate to that one! Thanks for hosting today.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Molly, you have been a risk-taker here, stepping up to the mound, and skilfully embracing the sporting challenge. Baseball is something of a second tier sport in Australia, even though we now have a national competition. Cricket is far more popular. Your poems ‘strikes’ the right note, capturing the essence of small moments in what is often a somewhat protracted contest. Particularly felt the tension in the words- ‘My hands grip, twitch and tense The roar of the crowd swells around me, I shift on the edge of my seat poised for triumph or defeat… Home run!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I grew up in a baseball family in a baseball city, Anaheim.
    (They were the Anaheim Angels before LA co-opted the name but left them in Anaheim…but I digress).
    I was a Junior Angel as a kid and went to every home game with my big brothers.
    Then I married a non-baseball fella. Sigh.
    I highly recommend going to a live MLB game — the feel in the stadium is electric. It’s definitely not a sport that translates well via TV IMHO.
    But your baseball poems translate very well, Molly. You scored big time in capturing the sport parent’s emotion in the second poem.
    Thanks for hosting and evoking my early childhood baseball memories. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I’ve loved reading all the comments — clearly baseball (and sports in general) evokes strong emotions. I suppose that alone makes it a worthy poetry topic. I also love that you were a “Junior Angel”. 🙂

      Like

  16. Tabatha says:

    Enjoyed “The Base Stealer” and your poems, Molly! Those endings! I am not a baseball fan myself. (I like soccer and sort of basketball.) To be honest, I lost patience with baseball when my son was in second grade and they first started letting kids pitch. The whole game became basically about giving young pitchers practice, because they threw so badly that almost nobody got a chance to hit. (There’s probably a poem in there.) Thanks for hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. rosecappelli says:

    Love both of your poems, Molly! We are a baseball loving family (even took several family vacations to different parts of the country to catch the Phillies). “Still in the Game” took me right back to the countless Little League baseball and softball games I watched with bated breath, especially when my kids were up to bat. You certainly did a great job of capturing the sport! Thank you for sharing and for hosting today.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. […] Poetry Friday is hosted today by Inkling Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone. […]

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  19. Molly! Thank you so much for hosting and for sharing your opinion about baseball using these wonderful tell-it-slant perspectives. Imagination is where the fun is, yes? Beautiful and inspiring = you. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  20. heidimordhorst says:

    haHA! Molly, both poems offer excellent punchlines, the first one poignant and punny and the second a sublime surprise–and furthermore both titles are home runs. It says something about a writer’s skill when they can conjure up a game they don’t love. Thanks for hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Oh, love these, Molly. Such a clever ending in the first one. And that second one so brings up memories of watching Maddie’s lacrosse games, especially when she was goalie. Ugh. So anxiety-provoking. Not a baseball fan, either, but enjoyed both your poems! Thanks for hosting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Laura. I’ve spent many an hour watching my own children play sports but none of them were goalies. That must ratchet up the anxiety! Loved your duck poem–so deceptively simple. so powerful!

      Like

  22. janicescully says:

    I used to love watching the Yankees play in World Series games, but that’s about it. But you’ve managed to conjure up some enthusiasm in your second poem, the exiting part as a pitch is about to happen and anything can happen. I also became engrossed in sports my boys played.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      My husband and I were surprised to become big fans of watching cross country meets when our kids were participating in high school. Sports is certainly a playing field for much human drama!

      Like

  23. […] Heidi Mordhorst @ My Juicy Little UniverseLinda Mitchell @ A Word EdgewiseMargaret Simon @ Reflections on the TecheMary Lee Hahn @ A(nother) Year of ReadingMolly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone […]

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  24. maryleehahn says:

    Thanks for hosting, Molly! You NAILED the endings of both poems! Love the two perspectives.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. tee+d says:

    Both of those are delightful. Despite you not being a sportswoman, you have a perspective which still somehow lends an immediacy and presence to what can be a really boring game.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, thanks for hosting. I linked up this afternoon but then had to get ready for my little grandgirls who are staying over for the weekend. “hovers like an ecstatic bird” is a wonderful description in the poem your 4th graders like. I can see why. Your first poem uses the senses to keep me interested and I did not see the ending coming in your second poem. I enjoyed all three poems.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Baseball! How dreadfully boring! I loved the double entendre of “It makes me want to run home” “Screaming Save Me. Save Me.” 48 comments! Have you ever struck such a response before!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Well, half those comments were my responses and most of the others were from everyone participating in Poetry Friday, which I was hosting 🙂 Still it was fascinating to read how many people had strong pro or anti baseball feelings. I can see you clearly fall in my camp! lol

      Like

  28. Thank you for hosting this week, Molly! My father was a huge baseball fan and his love of the game rubbed off on me. I love both of your poems! As others have said, the last lines are perfection. Watching your kids play any sport definitely makes your heart race!

    Liked by 1 person

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