Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Homering Among the Pines

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Edward Rielly of Westbrook writes of today’s poem: “Growing up on a small farm...I enlisted the pine trees in our yard as baseball teammates. Pine cones abounded, and although they did not carry as well as a baseball, I never had to retrieve them.”

Homering Among the Pines by Edward J. Rielly

With my old, pockmarked bat,
but without a ball, I played
the game as perfectly as any
summer hero. I used, instead,
the pine cones that dropped
at random from the pines overhead
littering the lawn, shooting out
of the lawnmower against my legs
as I mowed, but ready to fill
the air with home runs when I
turned to sport. The small dry cones
whizzed like insects at the moment
I stroked them, fluttering like
butterflies when their velocity
suddenly declined. Oh, how I hit
those brown cones, and sometimes,
lining one just right with my bat
between layers of wind, I sent it
high up through dark branches,
returning to whence it came, and all
the invisible baseball spirits
on all my invisible bases raced
for home as I dropped my bat
and waved to the surrounding wind.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2007 Edward J. Rielly. Reprinted from Old Whitman Loved Baseball and Other Baseball Poems, Moon Pie Press, 2007, by permission of Edward J. Rielly. Please note that the column is no longer accepting submissions; comments about it may be directed to special consultant to the poet laureate, Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.