First in a series of poems in various forms celebrating the Red Sox. The sestina can be well done in the hands of real poets like Elizabeth Bishop or John Ashbery (move down the page for “Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape”), but for me it was just a fun way to celebrate this past season.
I. Hot Stove
Not every year begins in April, sometimes it starts with the holiday season,
With intensive talks over Thanksgiving dinner in Arizona. Is he game
To pitch in Fenway Park, homey, but considered a hitter’s park? The Red Sox
General Manager had data compiled, so that Schilling should not despair;
The Green Monster plucked home runs from the air, and pitching there would be a win-win.
Drafted under close scrutiny, Schilling signed the contract in good faith.
The cruelest month saw torrid play, the only warmth for the fans bundled in stands, blind faith
In the Olde Towne Team guiding them through the crisp spring season.
15-6 in April, including a sweep of Evil Empire on their home territory. To win
Each time they took the field seemed a given. Other teams were the game,
Prey to the team’s talent. Despite the injuries and insinuations, there was no reason to despair;
A new nation declared its sovereignty, and the flag that was flown said “Red Sox.”
From May to June, they seemed determined to prove that the Red Sox
Were the same old deal. Mired in mediocrity, reeling from unearned runs, faith
Evaporated like dew from the infield grass. A deluge of despair,
The déjà vu of too many summers preceding, sweeping over the season
As a torrent of spite spewed from daily papers. Players, managers, front office – all were game
For the ravenous press. All were starving for a resurgence, hungry for a win
Streak to steady the club. What would it take to win?
Retooling. Would it mean trading a longtime Sox?
Probably. How to acquire to right pieces to play the game?
With panache. Will the fans lose faith?
Time will tell. Who will save the season?
Not one man, but many. When ends the despair?
After the first match-up the stadium, we weren’t completely down. Despair
Only lightly limned the stretches of our confidence. Most certainly we would win
The next one. There was no reason to think that our spell in the post-season
Would be brief. But after a squeaker and a laugher, the 0-3 Red Sox
Did not dwell, but delved deep. Every bench member found a way, an act of faith
Propelling them, compelling them to triumph four times straight. After the seventh game
VI. World Series
Celebrating a pennant was just the beginning. Needing to capture a game
Or three more to cleanse the air, wash away the despair.
No more supposed ghosts, curses, lapses, just pure faith
Pouring forth from reserves of past pain and hapless hopes to win
A title, the title that had eluded them through four score and six years, the Red Sox
Conquered hands, minds, and hearts for a fitting close to a cathartic season.
VII. Waiting for Pitchers and Catchers
After long decades, faith is rewarded. Is it just a game?
For us, probably not. A season is fulfilled and we only despair
The long wait for the next win. “Now starting for the Red Sox….”