Sports poetry (ice hockey in this case)

My life has been burdened (and enlightened!) with many lonely tasks, to include trying to keep alive the grand tradition of biting light verse and also a yet more marginalized genre: sports poetry. Herewith my latest. English only in this case, and though I have fond memories of Yvan Cournoyer. Jean Béliveau, Guy Lafleur . . .

The truth might extend beyond the next Stanley Cup

Betty alone on the Seafarers stage, portrait by William Eaton, 2019The other night his name was Jones, Jones of all things:
The enemy on whom the game somehow seemed to hinge.

Tonight Teräväinen, on top of every puck.
Another night Pasternak, of all people, got stuck

In my craw, throughout the game, this name or this beast;
To some alien genealogy has been condemned my team?

The day before, a fourth liner, best left unknown;
Now – what? – it’s him! – a breakaway? Shooting? Goal. And Groan.

Of most Presidents’ faces I’ve seen more than enough.
News, lies, ads on TV – OK, we’ll keep buying stuff.

At least such phenomena come without hope;
But with sports – as in our dreams – we’re more easily doped.

Yet – there’s something in the phonemes – like “Osterkamp.”
It’s gonna be a long night. Again he’s lit the lamp.

Perhaps it’s not just hockey; this debacle’s not a game;
Always some strange someone deserves all the blame?

— Poem and portrait by William Eaton. Another sports poems posted on Montaigbakhtinian: A poem about Ash Barty! And there is, too, an essay On Playing and Missing. As for “biting light verse” (and trilinguality), various examples may be found, to include Se révéler ¿sin divertirse? – mais no, no, no!


    • Vous voulez le traduire vous-même, ou que moi je le traduise ? Ce serait difficile puisque ce poème-ci est tellement ancré dans la culture nord-américaine (notre ligue de hockey sur glace). La ligne de conclusion, cependant — On trouve toujours quelqu’un étrange (ou étranger) pour absorber le blâme ? — est plus généralement applicable.

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