Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Rob Francis: "The Pitcher" (poem)

Poet Robert Francis; Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly; Milkofmoonlight

Yasodhara (Princess Bimba who became Ven. Bhaddakaccana): I know we had an agreement from many lives back, and I know I knew where you were and how you were advancing as did your parents, but I still missed you like you said: All things are subject to separation. Thank you for coming back to save me, your son, Shakyians and the world. MORE
His art is eccentricity, his aim
How not to hit the mark he seems to aim at,
His passion how to avoid the obvious,
His technique how to vary the avoidance.
The others throw to be comprehended. He
Throws to be a moment misunderstood.
Yet not too much. Not errant, arrant, wild,
But every seeming aberration willed.
Not to, yet still, still to communicate
Making the batter understand too late.

SID: When then think I'll zag, I zig.
While this classic short poem seems to be about a baseball pitcher’s modus operandi -- the deceptive intention of his pitching “art.” By implication, it is actually about much more. The concrete image of a baseball pitcher is the vehicle for things not always being what them seem.

As readers we are told the pitcher is eccentric but not off the mark (errant, arrant). He aims or seems to aim at the bat so the batter can hit it. But that is not true. That is the deception. How to keep tricking the batter? How to vary the trick? For further interpretation, here is Kris Swanguarin from Milk of Moonlight.

("Diet Mountain Dew") Is Lana Del Rey a "poet"? Probably not, but she's a great singer-songwriter. One can imagine Yasodhara was a beauty like this, a pampered noblewoman living a life of luxury in a faraway kingdom along the rich Silk Road.

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