by Thomas Dyja
While the Chicago Cubs are enjoying a terrific year in 2008, for generations they have embodied dashed hopes and weary resignation. To honor those Cub fans of the last century who perished without seeing their team in the World Series, we present this elegy set in the 1980s from award-winning novelist Thomas Dyja.
I. The Burial of the Dead
August is the cruelest month, bringing
Cub fans into the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull rightfielders with cold beer.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Wrigley in forgetful snow, feeding
A little hope with traded pitchers.
Summer surprised us, coming over Addison Avenue
With a cup of Old Style; we stopped at the Cubby Bear,
And went on in sunlight, into the Bleachers.
And ate Smoky Links, and talked for a few hours.
I’m no Sox fan, from Logan Square, pure Cub.
And when we were children, staying at the tool and die makers’,
My cousin’s, he took me to the Upper Deck,
And I was frightened. He said, Tommy,
Tommy, hold on tight. And down the Cubs went.
In the grandstands, there you sit for free.
I read, much of the season, and go south in summer.
Where are the runs that score, what pitches thrown
By this human rubbish? Son of Wrigley
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A team of broken retreads, playing where the sun beats
And the dead ivy gives no shelter, Jim Enright no relief,
And the vendor no sound of beer. Only
There is baseball in this old park,
(Come watch baseball in this old park),
And I will show you something different from either
The dome at Houston rising above you
Or the fans at Philly looking to beat you;
I will show you grass and a team that is bust.
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