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John Kelly's Washington

A Game of Inches and Iambic Feet

By John Kelly
Thursday, March 31, 2005; Page C11

The preparatory slap of a fist into the palm of a leather baseball glove. The crack of ball on wood. The paradiddle of a runner's feet pounding the dirt on the way to first base.

These are the sounds of baseball, sounds that have been absent too long from Washington.

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That will all change this Sunday, when our Washington Nationals take to the field for an exhibition game against the New York Mets, to be followed 11 days later by the home opener.

If you listen carefully, you'll hear other sounds, too, for poetry is in the air. Well, it's in this column, anyway, courtesy of my Washington Nationals poetry contest.

This was not an easy undertaking. Entries were slow in coming. In fact, the very first entry, a haiku from Silver Spring's Sachin Shah, wasn't even about baseball:

Hope of a new spring

Means cheers in late November

District champs -- soccer

Soccer?!? This may portend pitched battles between Nationals fans and D.C. United supporters.

But the poetical pace picked up, and soon the poems were actually about baseball, such as this evocative haiku from Peg Hausman of Vienna:

Cherry trees, tourists.

Tok! The evening sun

Spills a high fly ball.

The District's Doug Stucki also penned a haiku, but it cast a somewhat jaundiced eye:

Nationals tickets?

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