Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sign For My Father

I took my dad to dinner for Father's Day today. What's that? It's August? Well, better late than never, I suppose. It was nice to sit down with him and chat, just the two of us--something we hardly ever get to do. We used to play golf a lot in the summer, which gave us plenty of time to talk, but that was before I entered parenthood. Those days are gone, now.

I gave him another "gift" after we ate--a poem. It's by David Bottoms and its called "Sign For My Father, Who Stressed the Bunt." I discovered last summer, thanks to my good friend Joe Tsujimoto (buy his books on Amazon, people! They're pure gold, I tell you!). It pulled at my heart-strings because its message is something I've never really been able to say to my dad. This is probably true for many sons, I suppose. Hopefully the poem will say it for me.

It comes from that all-American genre of "Baseball Poetry," but it's much more than a baseball poem. Much, much more. Here are the first few lines:
On the rough diamond,
the hand-cut field below the dog lot and 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 eye off the bank
that served as our center-field fence.
The rest of the poem is a must-read--like so many poems, the beauty is in the ending. In fact, I think I find the ending to be quite sublime. Now that I mention it, so is the title.

And, if you have the time, watch this video of Mr. Bottoms reading it himself. Happy Father's Day, Dad.

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