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May 15, 2011
A Poem About Jorge Posada
(With apologies to Percy Shelley.)
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand at home plate. Near them, in the dugout,
Half sunk, a shattered binder lies, whose cold
And dismal figures, and sneer of painful facts
Tell that a batter well past his prime
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless swings,
The bat that mocked them and the ball that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Jorge Posada, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
UPDATE: I made the mistake of mentioning on Twitter that I thought I could do the same for Jeter, and of course now I have to put up or shut up. So now, Jeter by way of Tennyson:
The bats decay, the bats decay and fall,
The baseballs weep their stitches to the ground,
Man comes and tills the infield and lies beneath,
And after many a summer dies the swan.
Me only cruel immortality
Consumes: I wither slowly in thine arms,
Here at the quiet limit of the world,
A white-haired shadow roaming like a dream
The ever-silent spaces of the AL East,
Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of morn.
Alas! for this gray shadow, once a man -
So glorious in his beauty and thy choice,
Who madest him thy chosen, that he seemed
To his great heart none other than a God!
I asked thee, "Give me immortality."
Then didst thou grant mine asking with a smile,
Like wealthy men who care not how they give.
But thy strong innings indignant worked their wills,
And beat me down and marred and wasted me,
And though they could not end me, left me maimed
To dwell in presence of immortal youth,
Immortal age beside immortal youth,
And all I was, at shortstop. Can thy love,
Thy beauty, make amends, though even now,
Close over us, the silver star, thy guide,
Shines in those tremulous eyes that fill with tears
To hear me? Let me go: take back thy gift:
Why should a man desire in any way
To vary from the kindly race of men,
Or pass beyond the retired numbers
Where all should pause, as is most meet for all?
Why wilt thou ever scare me with thy tears,
And make me tremble lest a saying learnt,
In days far-off, on that dark earth, be true?
"The Gods themselves cannot recall their gifts."
Yet hold me not for ever in thine AL East:
How can my glove longer mix with thine?
Coldly thy rosy grounders bathe me, cold
Are all thy lights, and cold my wrinkled feet
Upon thy glimmering thresholds, when the steam
Floats up from those dim fields about the homers
Of happy men that have the power to drive,
And grassy swings of the happier DH'd.
Release me, and restore me to the ground;
Thou seest all things, thou wilt see my grave:
Thou wilt renew thy beauty morn by morn;
I earth in earth forget these empty courts,
And thee returning on thy silver wheels.