Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Funktionslust

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Funktionslust

Article excerpt

The Germans have a word for it, the pleasure

in what one does best. Don't fret the accent;

savor the sense of gibbons swinging tree to tree,

cats creeping through high weeds, dogs chasing

frisbees into seaside froth. I always knew "fun"

just began describing what they felt; "lust"

was the ignoble hind-end. I loved to watch

a scissortail flycatcher pluck gnats from thin air

while its long tail kicked and fluttered,

treading sky. I loved to see box turtles bull

through dewberry tangles, their red, orange,

and yellow heads stained deep maroon.

Football and basketball were fine, but the first time

I slipped a leather fielder's mitt on my left hand,

and stretched my five-year-old fingers around

a slick white Spalding ball, the first time my varnished

Louisville Slugger split the air, I knew there had

to be some word to celebrate my certainty

that on the Dad's Club All Stars, August, 1965,

I'd leap to catch a line drive, scramble on my knees

to second base to make an unassisted double play,

then go four-for-five, and triple in the winning run. …

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