Walt Whitman at the Game

By on Jan 14, 2013 in Poetry

Walt Whitman with a baseball field

Walt Whitman,
containing multitudes,
spreads his plump rump on the bleachers,
his blooming beard caressed by diamond breezes.

The umpire raises one hand in benediction.
The batter swings and swings again at nothing,
then cocks a grin as wide as a blind assumption.
The ball soars, high, higher,
seeking the looming towers of Manhattan,
angles or demons,
catchers and pitchers of the winds.

In Walt’s eye, the ball, a polished moon,
folds into a dove recalling home.
Cheers wound the sky in its envy.
The grass burns the blades of its desire.

Walt Whitman absorbs it all
in the visionary marrow of his bones,
scents the fisted rosin, the silky dust,
touches the joy of the pulsing sun,
weaves the crowd with his eyes
into a pattern of his own design.

Later, he dances home, arm-in-
arm with two drunken firemen,
following a trail of apples
that have abandoned their fall.

Above, a million blind windows devour the sun,
and in wonder’s perfect silence, Walt Whitman drinks
and drinks the city night, sprinkled with blood and wine
immaculate, breathless in the ministry of stars.


Sean Lause lives in Bluffton, Ohio, with his son Christopher and their cockatiel, Maria. His poems have appeared in The Minnesota Review, The Alaska Quarterly, Another Chicago Magazine, The Beloit Poetry Journal and Poetry International. His first book of poems, Bestiary of Souls, was published in 2013 by FutureCycle Press. His favorite poets are Emily Dickinson, Rimbaud, and The Ramones.