Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Samuel Beckett Throws out the First Pitch

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Samuel Beckett Throws out the First Pitch

Article excerpt

Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, August 1957

The lanky lefty standing on the first-base

side of the mound flips the ball from hand

to hand and studies the distance between

late afternoon shadow and evening light.

No one is sure who he is. The former cricket

bowler S. B. Beckett, his letter had said.

Irish, long retired from the sport, and that

was good enough for the O'Malley family

to welcome him in the melancholy dog

days of their Dodgers' last season in Brooklyn.

Friends imagine him in London or Paris,

maybe somewhere in Normandy, out of touch,

at work on a play. But he imagines himself

in a place where play as he'd known it

at last becomes strange enough for joy.

He has dressed in white from shoes to jumper.

Under his fierce stare home plate transforms

itself into a wicket right before the bored

eyes of Roy Campanella settling into a crouch

and expecting a soft lob from an old man

about to vanish from sight. …

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