Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sign for my Father, Who Stressed the Bunt by David Bottoms

On the rough diamond,
the hand-cut field beneath the dog lot and the barn,
we rehearsed the strict technique
of bunting. I watched from the infield,
the mound, the backstop
as your left hand climbed the bat, your legs
and shoulders squared toward the pitcher.
You could drop it like a seed
down either base line. I admired your style,
but not enough to take my eyes off the bank
that served as our center-field fence.
Years passed, three leagues of organized ball,
no few lives. I could homer
into the garden beyond the bank,
into the left-field lot of Carmichael Motors,
and still you stressed the same technique,
the crouch and spring, the lead arm absorbing
just enough impact. That whole tiresome pitch
about basics never changing,
and I never learned what you were laying down.
Like the hand brushed across the bill of a cap,
let this be the sign
I'm getting a grip on the sacrifice.

Any poem written about a sport is never really just describing the sport. The peom is used to give off a deeper meaning of life and the lessons learned from playing the sport. This baseball poem is obviously about the lessons a young boy learned from his father when his father was teaching him the "strict technique/of bunting". Since I am not a true baseball fan and don't know much about baseball I talked to my father about the reasons to use a bunt and how it contributes to the game. According to him, a bunt is used to help progress another player across the bases or even to help them score, but there is a sacrifice. The sacrifice is that the player who hit the bunt is almost always thrown or tagged out.
In this poem the young boy was obsessed with home run hitting. That was his passion, even though his father tried so hard to progress and advance his game by teaching him to bunt, the son never understood. The boy never understood what the adantages of taking a bunt during a game rather than a homerun would be. The son finally understands his father's "sign" near the end of the poem. The sign the son is "getting a grip on the sacrifice". This obviously is associated with the idea that sacrifice for the greater good or the better of the team is better for humanity and could be better in his life lessons too. The greed and glorification associated with a home run rather than that of the bunt is not always better when it comes to life and learning from things in life.
This poem was not simply about the game of baseball but about the journey the father tries to teach the son through a game of baseball. The sacrifice the son can make for the greater good is always better than fame and fortune.

1 comment:

  1. Nice look at this poem. You didn't just stick to a surface reading. Good.