by Todd Herges
Dedicated to Donald Hall, with reaffirmation that he is a true baseball man not of the Bush League variety.
It starts outside, from the Street Section,
with a dolce voce buzz.
Percussion of feet on sidewalk keeps the beat,
punctuated by occasional horns.
Now bring in the Siren, a few blocks distant,
for just a moment, now off,
replaced by the Timpani rumble
of an elevated Red Line train.
Drumming continues with volume increasing
as more musicians walk on stage
to join their fanatical peers.
This is going to be a concert to remember!
A frantic girl from the String Section is running late,
an alto sax guy staggers a bit –
from his pep band’s pre-concert set
at the Cubby Bear Lounge, across the street.
All line up in queues as Maestro gives cue
to the Electronic Beep section – demure as flutes, no: more
assertive than flutes, followed by turnstile ka-thunks.
The days of sneaking in on yesterday’s ticket are gone.
A barely contained thunder grows as voices are funneled
up ramps and through tunnels
and now they break through
to an Elysian view
of greenest grass and ivy,
of rich brown dirt dotted with sparkling white bases,
of blue summer sky festooned with crepe paper contrails,
of Players poised and vital in clean pinstripes.
A pause, as the Orchestra gathers in full and reflects.
This is what they have waited for,
this is why they’ve spent so long working, saving,
studying the sports page sheet music, traveling, to get HERE.
And now, Philharmonic finely tuned, the real concert begins.
Sound the organ anthem!
Stand and stretch and mouth the words.
Flutter the flags with a breathy breeze.
Hot Dogs! Peanuts! Cracker Jack! Cold Beer HERE!
The pop of a pitch in the mitt;
the crack of a bat amidst sudden brief silence;
the appreciative roar of the crowd.
Beauty and truth
and symphonic perfection
on a June afternoon
Published in Ballparks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago Cubs, Fans, Free Verse, The Game Itself | Link to this poem | 3 Comments