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The Death of Grass

Bruce Meyer
From:   Radio Silence. Black Moss Press, 1991 p 17; Goodbye Mr. Spalding, Windsor: Black Moss Press, 1996

You can believe anything you want
they told him on his way up to the show:
he chose to believe in grass ñ the green sea
that washes over time when a pop fly hangs
like a loverís promise in an arc through centre;
the continent of pain when inches give way
to miles on the tip of a glove; the reach

that will always be bigger than a man;
the cool green smell of life itself
smiling up at the innings of August heat,
and the green that shone beneath the lights
like a sea of emeralds awash in voices.
Eight seasons he learned faith is fortune;
balls never bounce the same way twice;

that even when you are under the ball
the wind can shift and change a game;
that all you tell others is less than you know;
that winning the Series is better than sex
though winning the Series will get you sex;
in playing the game you are playing yourself;
that baseball is poetry without the poet;

that the heart and body can be at odds;
that fortune falters when faith is shaken.
And you can believe anything you want --
your youth, you swing, speed, arms, knees,
and then like a lover who suddenly leaves
that season when you swing and miss,
swing again and whiff again, error in the ninth

on a pop fly, slip on a misplayed catch
and watch from the bench as age prevails.
And then came the season they laid the rug,
ìfor a more even gameî the owners said --
but the death of grass was the death of belief:
"You believe what you want but never this,"
he said in farewell, his eyes rained out.

He sat one night in a ball playerís haunt,
drinking slow bears and smoking fast drags;
a game was on the tube; a rookie, a fly ball,
an error scored; the game never gets better
and it never gets worse; the faces change,
parks are revamped, and always there high
in the stands the father, the son, the dream.

The lights are down now as he stands
at the plate, his face to deep centre
and the stars high above him like signals
called from eternity. There are no certainties
in this game ñ only believers who swing
at something hurled split-fingered out of forever,
and sunlight on grass as green as last year.

Bruce Meyer's works copyright © to the author.

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