I have played baseball on a summer day starting at eight o’clock in the morning, running home at noon for a quick meal, playing again till six o’clock in the evening, and then a run home for a quick meal and again with fielding and batting till it was too dark to see the leather spheroid.
This piece by Carl Sandburg oozes with imagery, and I love it. Sandburg captures a moment in time in his description of the end of this long ballgame, called due to the impending sunset. He originally published this poem in his 1918 collection Cornhuskers.
I remember the Chillicothe ball players grappling the Rock Island
ball players in a sixteen-inning game ended by darkness.
And the shoulders of the Chillicothe players were a red smoke
against the sundown and the shoulders of the Rock Island
players were a yellow smoke against the sundown.
And the umpire’s voice was hoarse calling balls and strikes and outs
and the umpire’s throat fought in the dust for a song.