Baseball Canto

Watching baseball
sitting in the sun
eating popcorn
reading Ezra Pound
and wishing Juan Marichal
would hit a hole right through
the Anglo-Sazon tradition
in the First Canto
and demolish the barbarian invaders
When the San Fransisco Giants take the field
and everybody stands up to the National Anthem
with some Irish tenor's voice
piped over the loudspeakers
with all the players struck dead in their places
and the white umpires like Irish cops
in their black suits and little black caps
pressed over their hearts
standing straight and still
like at some funeral of a blarney bartender
and all facing East
as if expecting some Great White Hope
or the Founding Fathers
to appear on the horizon
like 1066 or 1766 or at all
But Willie Mays appears instead
in the bottom of the first
and a roar goes up
as he clouts the first on into the sun
and takes off
like a footrunner from Thebes
The ball is lost in the sun
and maidens wail after him
but he keeps running
through the Anglo-Saxon epic
And Tito Fuentes comes up
looking like a bullfighter
in his tight pants and small pointed shoes

And the rightfield bleachers go mad
with chicanos & blacks & brooklyn beerdrinkers
"Sweet Tito! SOck it to heem, Sweet Tito!"
And Sweet Tito puts his foot in the bucket
and smacks one that dont come back at all
and flees around the bases
like hes escaping from the United Fruit Company
as the gringo dollar beats out the Pound
and Sweet Tito beats it out
like hes beating out usury
not to mention fascism and anti-semitism
ANd Juan Marichal comes up
and the chicano bleachers go loco again
as Juan belts the first fast ball
out of sight
and rounds first and keeps going
and rounds second and rounds third
and keeps going
nd hits pay-dirt
to the roars of the grungy populace
As some nut presses the backstage panic button
for the tape-recorder National Anthem again
to save the situation
but it dont save nobody this time
in their revolution round the loaded white bases
in this last of the great Anglo-Saxon epics
in the TERRITORIO LIBRE of baseball

--Lawrence Ferlinghetti