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Baseball's Sad Lexicon -- Franklin P Adams

       
(Poem #1648) Baseball's Sad Lexicon
 These are the saddest of possible words:
   "Tinker to Evers to Chance."
 Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
   Tinker and Evers and Chance.
 Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
   Making a Giant hit into a double --
 Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
   "Tinker to Evers to Chance."
-- Franklin P Adams
Note: http://eir.library.utoronto.ca/rpo/display/poem2940.html for a detailed
  explanation of what's going on

Poetry had its origins in oral tradition, and it continues to rely heavily on
the spoken word for its full impact. Devices like rhyme and metre, which
have attended poetry since antiquity (and continue to attend it despite
transient bubbles of unfashionability) are not just mnemonic, but actively
pleasing to the ear; moreover, they form a natural framework in which words
and phrases are emphasised or deemphasised, linked together or split apart -
in other words, they are an integral part of the sense and flow of the poem.

Today's poem is firmly rooted in the oral camp - it really cries out to be
read aloud, and even a silent read through gets me counting out the rhythm
in some physical form. And I was delighted to learn the story behind its
origin:

        The author was Franklin Pierce Adams who was a Cubs fan, a sportswriter
  for the New York Evening Mail and a poet thanks to an article that his
  editors said was too short — making him pen Baseball's Sad Lexicon on his
  way to a game at the Polo Grounds.
     -- http://www.baseball-almanac.com/poetry/po_sad.shtml

There is no real way to know why some poems of this sort enjoy a brief spurt
of popularity and vanish tracelessly, while others become immortal;
nonetheless, having known and enjoyed this little ditty long before I knew
anything about baseball, I am unsurprised it has fallen into the latter
category.

martin

[Links]

We've run a couple of Franklin's poems before; there's a biography attached
to Poem #212

And the wikipedia article on baseball should tell you more than you ever
wanted to know about it:
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball

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