Poetry May 2006

Bambino Sutra

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Hear the author read this poem

Swing with everything
You’ve got. Sock it and admire
The arc. This is what

The game is about.
This is the house my clouts built.
Here comes another

Mammoth rip, here comes
My patented thunderclap.
This is the way to

Make the old game grand
Again, going deep in the
Packed house my clouts built.

Here comes Colossus,
Batting clean-up. There goes a
Moon shot, upper deck.

This is the power
They write home about. This is
The house my clouts built.

Swing for the fences,
Bunyanesque. Everyone loves
A majestic blast

That defies the laws
Of matter and space, the stuff
That myths are made of.

This is the sweet spot
That runs with the grain, the snap
In the wrists that makes

The old lumber ring,
The leonine reflexes
In an ursine frame

That packs the punch that
Wins the crown for the home team
That’s built around me.

Swing as if this swing
Will be your last. Even my
Whiffs are feats of strength.

This is the press box,
Where the scribes wax Homeric,
This is the bull pen,

Where the aces sweat
Bullets. This is my playhouse:
My wallops built it.

Where is it written
You have to grow up? Make way
For the manchild,

All brawn and pinstripes,
That mugs for the shutterbugs
That feast on the swats

That put the fannies
In the seats. Ladies and gents,
Hold on to your hats—

This is my sandbox,
My ball yard, my turf. This is
The house my clouts built.

David Barber is The Atlantic’s poetry editor. His new book, Wonder Cabinet, will be published this spring.
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David Barber is The Atlantic's poetry editor.

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