Poet's Choice

By Robert Pinsky
Sunday, April 23, 2006

Ever since the Greek poet Pindar wrote his odes celebrating the original Olympic athletes, sports have been associated with the passing of time, the brevity of life. Baseball seems to invite meditations on time all the more because, as has often been observed, it is the sport without a clock: In theory, the extra innings are infinite -- but not really. (Though non-fans have been known to feel that the games go on forever.)

Here is a poem that looks at sports and time, in particular baseball and time, from an unusual perspective:

Spring Training

The last of the birds has returned --

the bluebird, shy and flashy.

The bees carry fat baskets of pollen

from the alders around the pond.

The wasps in the attic venture downstairs,

where they congregate on warm windowpanes.

Every few days it rains.

This is my thirty-fifth spring;

still I am a novice at my work,

confused and frightened and angry.

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