Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Freaks at Spurgin Road Field by Richard Hugo

This week, Richard Hugo's powerful villanelle about memories he's trying (unsuccessfully) to forget.


The Freaks at Spurgin Road Field

The dim boy claps because the others clap.
The polite word, handicapped, is muttered in the stands.
Isn’t it wrong, the way the mind moves back.

One whole day I sit, contrite, dirt, L.A.
Union Station, ’46, sweating through last night.
The dim boy claps because the others clap.

Score, 5 to 3. Pitcher fading badly in the heat.
Isn’t it wrong to be or not be spastic?
Isn’t it wrong, the way the mind moves back.

I’m laughing at a neighbor girl beaten to scream
by a savage father and I’m ashamed to look.
The dim boy claps because the others clap.

The score is always close, the rally always short.
I’ve left more wreckage than a quake.
Isn’t it wrong, the way the mind moves back.

The afflicted never cheer in unison.
Isn’t it wrong, the way the mind moves back
to stammering pastures where the picnic should have worked.
The dim boy claps because the others clap.



Richard Hugo was born in a Seattle suburb in 1923. He wrote many books of poetry and a popular book on how to write poetry called The Triggering Town. He died in 1982.

10 Comments:

Blogger Tor Hershman said...

They've been know to scream en masse.....see
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LubuSAgB5s

7:34 PM  
Blogger ginger said...

i think he made a mistake here....it's very difficult to identify with. and if he were trying to seem crazy, he's close, but should've been more wacky with the ranting.

11:48 PM  
Blogger ginger said...

i'm just sayin'.

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