In honor of the baseball season's Opening Day and the beginning of National Poetry Month, both of which occurred on April Fool's Day this year, here's mine. I wrote it for a Whitman class, in which we were charged to follow Whitman's lead and do something creative; when I read it aloud, it was very well received. Go figure.
I saw you at the ballpark last Sunday, Walt Whitman.
I couldn't wave because I had a hot dog in one hand and a beer in the other.
You wouldn't have noticed me anyway
because you were concentrating on the millionaires in tight pants playing a kid's game,
the sunburned necks of the boys on the bench,
the one kneeling in the on-deck circle,
the one crouched behind the plate,
the batter waiting for the ball to stay up a little in the strike zone
so he can send it high against the blue blue blue March sky
into deep right field for a hit or an E or an out and maybe a long singing throw into second.
The sound of the crowd is the voice of America.
I've heard you said you see great things in baseball, that it's America's game,
as important as the Constitution,
and I could have looked it up if I'd gone to the library on Sunday.
But I went to the ballgame instead.
I saw you there, Walt Whitman.
You were wearing a Dodgers cap.