In the Country of Baseball


In the Country of Baseball

Carol Eikum, soprano
Heather MacLaughlin, piano
Used by permission


In the Country of Baseball
Music by David Evan Thomas, based on writings by Donald Hall

I. Home
The ball once struck off
Away flies the boy
To the destin’d post
And then home with joy
(Anon., 18th c.)

II. The Country of Baseball
In the country of baseball, time is the
air we breathe, and the wind swirls us
backward and forward, until all time
and all seasons become the same. In
the country of baseball the bat swings
in its level swoop, the ball arcs upward
into the twilight, the center-fielder
gathers himself beneath it, and Dixie
Walker flies out to Willie Mays….

III. Pitches

IV. Fielding
Fielding is total humiliation. I don’t care…. When he
hits me a grounder that stays low, it scoots under my
glove. I cannot bend that far. Others come bouncing
along like rabbits with hideous intent. They bounce
off the hard dirt to an unpredictable elevation-and
careen into my shin or smash into my forearm. My
back does not allow me to bend far enough and the
ball swoops under my mitt, those are the only times
without pain. I simply collect bruises, hard purple
knots on my various limbs. I do not even care. I
embrace my wounds.
I am Saint Sebastian.

V. Fathers and Sons
Baseball is fathers and sons, the long
arc of the years between.… Baseball
is the generations, looping backward
forever. Baseball is fathers and sons,
the long arc of the years… a million
apparitions of sticks and balls, cricket
and rounders, the games the Iroquois
played in Connecticut before the
English came. Baseball is fathers and
sons playing catch, lazy and
murderous, wild and controlled, the
profound archaic song of birth,
growth, age, and death:
This diamond encloses what we are.

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