Take Me Out

Dodger BlueRed Right Arrow Nationals Red

 

It’s over. The long baseball season is done, and even though it has been finished for less than a day, I miss it.

A fellow baseball fan saw me yesterday and said, “Only 16 weeks until pitchers and catchers report!”

Yeah. That’s my kind of thinking.

The Nats lost in the playoffs to the Cubs, but I felt better when the Cubs lost to the Dodgers. I started pulling for the Dodgers, and here’s why:

  1. The Dodgers have better-looking uniforms. And seriously, Cubs—orange on your uniforms? Unless you play for the Tennessee football team and have a Big Orange tradition(and you don’t), orange doesn’t belong on a baseball uniform. Too bad the championship wasn’t decided by the color schemes. It wouldn’t take seven games to figure that one out.
  2. The Dodgers have a longer tradition, going back to 1883 and the days in Brooklyn when they were called the Trolley Dodgers for people on their way to games dodging mass transit. The Astros were established in 1962, and changed their name from the Colt .45’s in 1965. They even changed their team from the American League and their division within that league. It’s hard for a team to have a tradition when they change their league, division and name.
  3. Because the Dodgers have a longer history, they have more famous players, players like Mike Piazza, Steve Garvey, Orel Hershiser, Gil Hodges, Fernando Valenzuela, Maury Wills, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Don Drysdale, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, and Sandy Koufax. The Astros—well, the only famous player I’ve heard of is Roger Clemens, and that’s it. They don’t have enough of a history to have any more.

So, the Dodgers might have lost the battle, but they won the war. They’ll be first in my heart for a while—until those pitchers and catchers for the Nationals report next spring. Go, Nats!

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On the Stage

On the Stage

(Originally entitled “In the Chorale”)

Standing here among these singers,

Friends, neighbors, believers,

I only hear those around me—

Two altos to the right

And on my left, another tenor and a single bass.

We cannot hear the notes and music

From our vantage on the top row

But must trust our eyes more than ears

To follow the director’s quick bird-like motions

Paired with swan smooth gliding of palm and arm,

And we must trust our companion singers

And peerless orchestra

Gathered in from daily life

To create with us from common breath and

Daily living this music, this sound, this

Magic bigger than any or all of us,

Sung for an audience invisible beyond

The bright hot lights.

We would not know they are there

Sitting in inky darkness,

Silent until their own fluttering hands

Give notice of their presence,

And we think,

There are living, breathing people out there

And they care about us,

And they care about the music.

And so, this is our letter,

A love letter really,

To those around us,

To those ranged in rows

Before us,

Taking in conductor, orchestra,

And the largely anonymous

Faces in the darkened house.

We sing this music and we sing these words

For you and for ourselves

For those present, for those gone on

And for those who are yet to come.

This is our love letter to you and to

The great ephemeral universe:

We love all of you.

 

Dan Verner

September, 2017

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Running with Two Outs

 

 

Three and Two Count

Jeremiah 23:23-24: “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord, “And do not I fill heaven and earth?”

I don’t know if you like baseball, but I do. Notice that I said, ‘like,’ not ‘adore,’ ‘can’t live without,’ or ‘must have above all else.’ Obviously, I have to do without the game in the off season, and while I might be gloomy about that at time, I do manage to survive somehow until the next season starts. I’m not a big enough fan that I would miss a daughter’s wedding for a game, largely because I would want to be on this earth a while longer. We heard of someone who didn’t come to his daughter’s wedding because a football game was being played that he said he wouldn’t miss, and he didn’t. And no, he didn’t win Father of the Year for that.

One situation in baseball that I like happens when there are one or more men on base with two outs and a count of  three balls and two strikes on the batter. The runners know they can start running on the next pitch because one of a limited number of events can occur. The batter may strike out and the inning is over, or the batter may foul a pitch off and the inning continues, or the batter may walk and the inning continues, or the batter may get a hit, possibly scoring one or more of the runners. What these situations have in common is that the runners are safe in running, provided they don’t fall down between bases. In other words, the situation takes care of itself.

It occurred to me that God takes care of every situation, regardless of what has happened or what will happen. All that we have to do is confess our sins and believe that God is our salvation, and that’s it. It’s as easy as praying that simple prayer. And when we do, we know we can run through this life with confidence, knowing that we can come home standing up with no problem.  Thanks be to God for being present at all times and in all circumstances, and for the gift of Jesus Christ, who redeemed us by his death on the cross and who knows about and takes care of every situation, especially those when the count is three and two. Amen.

 

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Poem for the Last Day of National Poetry Writing Month

 

 

April Calendar Page

On this last day of April

I am writing

My last poem for this month

Of writing poetry

(A month observed by hundreds of

Thousands)

And I find myself wondering

How I have written 30 poems

During this month

Because the rest of the year

I am awash in prose:

Novels, articles, devotionals and

Short stories.

I can’t write a poem each day

For more than one short month.

I will write some verse occasionally

In the coming year, but

That’s all,

Although I suspect that my Erato

Is merely hidden,

Reclining at her ease

Waiting for another time

Another place

Or

Another month of

Poetry.

 

Dan Verner

April 30, 2017

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The Quieting of an Audience

 

 

Audience

In my seat in the still lit

Auditorium, I hear around me

Fragments of conversation

From others who have come

For this show: “I swore I’d

Never go back there,”

And

“I enjoyed seeing my

Grandchildren this past week,”

“I’m so excited that she

Got the part,”

And so on for five minutes,

A convivial hubbub permeates

The room, sounding like a

Wave gathering and ebbing

On a sandy shore.

The lights blink, once, twice, three times,

And those standing find their seats,

And conversations finish, women

Straighten in their seats, and men’

Look at their programs

One last time and

As the lights dim to darkness

Silence, creeps across these

Assembled souls

Awaiting song

Awaiting beauty

Awaiting a revelation

As the earlier sound

Diminishes past the point

Of hearing.

All is silent and then

Another kind of conversation

Begins.

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On Not Knowing What I’m Doing (Again)

 

Queaton Mark 2

You see, it’s like this:

Sometimes when I’m singing in choir

And I’m singing my (tenor) part

I can’t tell that I’m singing a part.

I am so accustomed to being part

Of the harmony that

The melody seems strange

To me.

And I think how ironic

This is because when I first

Sang in choir, I couldn’t

Read music and found

The other parts distracting

As I tried to sang mine.

I often sang the melody

Instead of a part

And now, decades later,

I find the melody

Strange and I can scarcely tell

When I’m singing

My part or not.

 

Dan Verner

April 29, 2017

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Paradox for the Day

 

 

 

To Do List

When I want to remember something,

I write it down so that, of course,

I don’t forget.

If I don’t make a note,

I remember,

But the very act of writing it down

Makes me remember,

So, here’s the paradox:

If I write it down,

Then I will remember

Even without looking

At my note.

So, in a sense,

The note becomes unnecessary

Except that if I don’t make a note,

I forget, so writing it down is both

Necessary and unnecessary to

Remember.

Does that make sense?

It does to me.

 

Dan Verner

April 28, 2017

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