Hello again out there in cyberspace. Sorry for the absences of just more than a week, but during spring training time can be rather tricky. Because of its eerie resemblance to Groundhog Day (everyday being the same as the last and all) it is often hard to keep track of exactly what day certain happened. Like, for example, what day a blog entry was written. Oh well. Since I last checked in I have had three appearances, one poor and two good. The first was a poor game against the Dodgers that was basically a result of not throwing enough consistent strikes, but I have been much better in my two subsequent outings. In two games against the Brewers and Reds I threw two scoreless innings, gave up only one hit, had a few strikeouts, and most importantly was throwing consistent strikes. Obviously a poor outing is never something to look forward to, but the with the tally standing at three strong outings to one poor one and given that it is spring training and some ups and downs are to be expected I feel fairly satisfied with my spring performance so far. I have also been given the opportunity to travel with the major league team to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers in an exhibition game at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, which should be a fun experience. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes next update.
Away from the field I have been spending most of my time cleaning up, packing and generally preparing to break camp when spring training ends this coming Sunday. I did manage to take in the Tempe Festival of the Arts on Sunday and actually bought an interesting metal and glass sculpture/coffee table from a couple from Cordelaine, Idaho. As with most art festivals there was a mix of very interesting and terrible stalls and everything in between, but on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed it. In addition to the major pluses of being free and not being in Scottsdale, it was extremely large and well organized so there was a lot to see and a much higher proportion of attention-worthy displays. It was fun seeing some new pieces by some of the artists I enjoyed from last year’s festival and overall it was just a great experience and I’d recommend taking it in if you’re ever around Phoenix in March. As always I’m still spending most of my clubhouse time glued to a book and at present I’m chipping away at both Empire Falls by Richard Russo and The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I finished off a couple of Pulitzer Prize winning books of poetry in Shadow of Sirius by W.S. Merwin and Late Wife by Claudia Emerson. Well, I guess I should get to bed so I can be well rested for another early day at the field tomorrow, so I’ll leave you with a poem and catch you on the flip side.
A Momentary Creed
By W.S. Merwin
I believe in the ordinary day
that is here at this moment and is me
I do not see it going its own way
but I never saw how it came to me
it extends beyond whatever I may
think I know and all that is real to me
it is the present that it bears away
where it has gone when it has gone from me
there is not place I know outside today
except for the unknown all around me
the only presence that appears to stay
everything that I call mine it lent me
even the way that I believe the day
for as long as it is here and is me
Hello again and welcome back for another installment. The past week or so has been typical of spring training in being mind numbingly boring with a few intermittent high points sprinkled in. I threw two live batting practice sessions early in the week, which as any of you who read this blog last spring are aware, is my absolute least favorite part of spring training. The idea behind them is that it gives the pitchers an opportunity to get a feel for all of their pitches with a batter in the box before the actual game action starts and it gives the hitters a chance to see some live pitching, but I have always questioned how much good is actually accomplished. I never leave live batting practice feeling really good about how I just threw because when the hitters are told every pitch that is coming they never swing at off-speed pitches or well located fastballs, i.e. the pitches we are trying to execute, with the resulting feeling being that even my best pitches are not fooling anyone. I am fully aware that this sounds ridiculous, because of course the hitters know what is coming and should not be fooled but it is an annoying feeling nonetheless. I also don’t like the fact that, knowing what is coming, every mistake made with a fastball gets absolutely crushed which doesn’t represent how things happen in an actual game. On the whole I guess I would rather just throw bullpens or in an actual game than tell the hitter what I’m throwing and let him take it or crush it, but such as it is both of my sessions went well so ultimately it isn’t a huge deal. Yesterday (Saturday) I got into my first game of the spring and threw two good innings, kept the pitch count down and was throwing strikes, which hopefully will continue to be the pattern for the rest of the spring.
Away from the field, there is scant little to report as most of my time has been absorbed by meetings and the other attendant busy work that makes up spring training. I did manage to take in the Scottsdale Arts Festival last weekend, which was enjoyable but not extremely overwhelming. In addition to the work of a number of talented artists whose works I thoroughly enjoyed and sadly was unable to purchase, there was the inevitable contingent of smug and talentless oddballs that pass themselves off as artists by making junk and giving it a pretentious and important-sounding name whose efforts I found hilarious and enjoyed on an entirely different level. (To view a brief and humorous analysis of said artists, read this article http://www.artbusiness.com/hownot.html). Overall it was a nice break from the Groundhog Day-esque existence that is spring training baseball. I also finally finished off three of the four books I had been working on simultaneously and in the process disproved an old idiom: “Never judge a book by it’s cover.” When it came out last year I had little interest in reading South of Broad by Pat Conroy (of Prince of Tides fame), but I ended up buying it for no better reason than I kept seeing it in bookstores and something about the cover art convinced me to buy it. Good decision as it turns out, because South of Broad ended up being one of my all-time favorite novels and one that I see myself returning to at some point in the near future. I’m also on the verge of finishing up another instant favorite, this time non-fiction, by James Loewen titled Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, so hopefully my next few books in the queue will be just as good. I’ve had my eye on Empire Falls by Richard Russo for a while now so I’m thinking that, along with one of the books from the unread stack of poetry, will be next in line. Anyway, before I bore you any further I’ll leave you with the traditional poem, which I will dedicate to the memory of Ron Urbach, a truly kind person and close family friend who passed away yesterday.
by Christina Rossetti
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann’d:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
Welcome back campers. It has been 170 variously eventful days since I last logged on and polluted cyberspace with my assorted ramblings, but spring has arrived and with it comes baseball, green grass and the concomitant minor league blogging. I must say that I was very surprised by the positive response to the blog last season and hopefully I can continue to provide some occasional entertainment for those of you who choose to spend your time following this blog. This past offseason ranks as far and away the best I have had since signing with the Cleveland Indians in August of 2005. After two trips to the Fall Instructional League (2005, 2006), a trip to the Hawaii Winter League (2007), and the Arizona Fall League (2008) I actually had the entire period from the end of the playoffs until I reported to spring training this past Sunday to get in the gym, lift weights, run, swim and do all the things I like to do to physically prepare for the season. As a consequence I feel as good as I’ve ever felt going into spring training. Having the six or so months to decompress has also made a huge difference in my mental outlook going into spring training. I’ve always been very focused on what I need to do to be successful, but the time off has left me in a much better mindset in terms of not worrying about the multi-various things that affect my career that I cannot control. I’m very excited about this spring training and definitely feeling a lot more optimistic about it than I have felt about any previous spring training.
My offseason was mostly spent training for the upcoming baseball season, but I did manage to squeeze in some amazing hiking trips to the Grand Canyon (twice) and also to Zion National Park with my girlfriend. The Zion trip was especially cool, with the added bonus that there was a surprisingly large amount of wildlife active in the park (especially for January). In addition to the ever present deer (which were so common that it got to the point where we be driving, see something and say “oh, it’s just a deer, keep driving”) and small animals, we took in wild turkey and a recent reintroduction to the park, big horn sheep. Clearly I couldn’t go the entire offseason without plowing through a sizable stack of books, but I’ll spare you the reading list and get you up to date on my current reading material. I actually have a surprisingly large array of reading material on my plate at the moment. In addition to doing some studying for the MCAT, I have four different books going at the moment. The first is Wealth and Democracy by Kevin Phillips, which is a very interesting but also extremely dense examination of the role wealth concentration has played in the development of the United States. The second is Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen, an examination of the inaccuracies and omissions in American history textbooks. I have also been spending some occasional time on Pat Conroy’s South of Broad, which I must confess I had low expectations for but has turned out to be simply sterling thus far. Last, but not least, I have been enjoying A Shropshire Lad by E.A. Housman, which contains one of my all-time favorite poems: “To An Athlete Dying Young.” Speaking of poems, this would seem like a natural place to bid you adieu for now and share with you the poem I have just mentioned. Until next time.
To An Athlete Dying Young
by A. E. Housman
The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.
To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.
Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields were glory does not stay
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.
Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:
Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.
So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.
And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl’s.
Hello again out there in cyberspace. You will hopefully excuse the extended period since my last post as there has been a lot going on of late. As many of you may know, my teammates and I with the Akron Aeros capped an impressive romp through the Eastern League with a 10-6 win over the Connecticut Defenders last Saturday to claim the Eastern League Championship. As a team we were both above .500 and in first place for every single day of the season, won our division, finished with the league’s best record, went 6-1 in the playoffs, won the league championship and nearly swept the league’s individual awards (MVP Carlos Santana, Pitcher of the Year Jeanmar Gomez, Manager of the Year Mike Sarbaugh). To call it a dominant year from a team perspective would not be an exaggeration. From a personal perspective I had a good season as well, going on a hot streak after the all-star break to just duck under a 3.00 ERA on the season and picking up my first win of the season in my last appearance. However, the nature of being a minor league baseball player is such that it is hard to be entirely satisfied with even a season as excellent as this one. Ultimately the goal of every minor league player is to continue to advance levels and eventually play in the major leagues. Winning a championship is something that most players never get to experience and I am happy to have experienced it and performed well in contributing to it, but I did not earn a promotion and thus cannot call myself entirely satisfied with the season. Maybe it isn’t the warm and happy team-oriented sentiment you would expect to hear less than a week after winning my first championship ring, but the fact of the matter is that in a business where players have no control over their contract and no recourse for mitigation of real or perceived grievances with the organizations that hold their contracts there is an inevitable focus on individual performance. So job well done, handshakes all around, but with the knowledge that there is a larger goal yet to be accomplished.
Now comes the much deserved portion of the season: the offseason. Since the beginning of my professional career I have not had a full offseason to rest and prepare myself for the upcoming season. I have done two instructional leagues, the Hawaii Winter League and the Arizona Fall League so I will definitely welcome the opportunity to not play and be able to focus on lifting, running and just being away from baseball to mentally decompress. The time away from throwing will be the most welcome part of the offseason as I’ve only had about six weeks off of throwing since I started getting ready for the 2007 season in December 2006 and while my arm is none the worse for the wear I feel some much deserved rest is in order. Thank you to everyone who logged on and followed this blog during the course of the season and one last time I’ll send you off with a poem for your enjoyment. Take care.
A Beginning & An End
by Dale Clark
Time is an infant
a new beginning, a new end
What came before is relived
We feel with our eyes,
The pristine magic of earth
Flat wooded shores, white oaks
Redwoods are sages,
They whisper of the past
We see the native ones,
as they lived in harmony
The great plains of grass
The desert of painted dunes
A myriad of purple hues
Herds of buffalo roam,
no man can own them
The nomads of the plains
the cliff dwellers of the desert
farm with ancient secrets
We come on great ships
sailing salty seas
White greed captures and owns,
it destroys all and itself as well
Cities covered with darkness
A beginning will be born to end
A civilized world shall remain savage.
Hello again. Since my last post I and my teammates with the Akron Aeros have continued rolling along, sweeping three games from the Reading Phillies on our way to a spot against either the Connecticut Defenders or New Britain Rock Cats in the Eastern League championship series. I threw twice in the series, registering a scoreless inning to finish game two and allowing a meaningless run in the eighth inning of last night’s series finale. As I mentioned last time, it was refreshing to give up a lead-off triple in the eighth inning and be able to look up at the scoreboard and think to myself that as long as I didn’t give up five more of those and turned the ball over to the next guy with the lead in tact I had done my job. In the playoffs the only thing that matters is the final score and it is nice to view the game in that light for once, rather than being primarily concerned with my individual numbers and knowing that if they are good it will probably help the team win games. We are now in Connecticut awaiting the outcome of the first round series on the other half of the draw, in the northern division.
In the interim between my last post and now, there has been precious little to report in off-field news. I have mostly finished packing up the apartment in Akron and tied up many of the loose ends there so all there is left to do is push off once the season comes to a conclusion. I started and finished John W. Dean’s interesting and educating (if somewhat predictably toned) book Broken Government in the last couple days in addition to what is certainly one of the best books I have read in recent memory, Richard Wright’s Native Son. It is an extremely compelling novel and if you haven’t read it I command you to go pick it up immediately. Well, I guess you don’t have to, but it really is a must read. Beyond that, there really is nothing new to report. I had hoped to check out a Chuck Close exhibition at the Akron Art Museum, but I’m not sure at this point if the scheduling is going to work out to allow me to go. If I make it though, you’ll be sure to hear about it. Look for updates on the playoffs soon and until next time I’ll leave you with a poem by Mark Strand from his award-winning collection Blizzard of One.
A Piece of the Storm
By Mark Strand
From the shadow of domes in the city of domes,
A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room
And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up
From your book, saw it the moment it landed. That’s all
There was to it. No more than a solemn waking
To brevity, to the lifting and falling away of attention, swiftly,
A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that
Except for the feeling that this piece of the storm,
Which turned into nothing before your eyes, would come back,
That someone years hence, sitting as you are now, might say:
“It’s time. The air is ready. The sky has an opening.”
Hello again out there. Sorry for being a bit over a week between posts, but I no longer have internet access in my apartment so I had to find a convenient time to stop off at the library and write. The major development since my last post is the ending of the regular season. It is hard to believe but after 142 games the regular season is over and it is finally time for the playoffs. As a team we had an outstanding year. We spent a grand total of zero games at or below .500 and were in first place in our division for every day of the season. Our team also produced the Eastern League’s Player of the Year (Carlos Santana), Pitcher Player of the Year (Jeanmar Gomez) and Manager Player of the Year (Mike Sarbaugh) in addition to excellent performances by several other players. Heck, our closer Vinnie Pestano was only a save or two behind the league lead and he didn’t play at all after being shut down in early July with an “upper extremity” injury. Personally, I ended the season on a roll that pulled my overall numbers from mediocre at the all-star break to pretty good by season’s end, and I managed to just sneak in under the 3.00 ERA mark so I’d have to consider it a successful season. My long string of good performance was almost marred by a poor outing to end the season, but I managed to minimize the damage, keep my overall numbers in a satisfactory range, and end the season on a positive note. None of those numbers matter anymore, however, as it is now playoff time and the only numbers that matter are the numbers on the scoreboard at the end of the game. We open up the playoffs at home against the Reading Phillies with high hopes. We played well all season and ended the season with eight straight wins so hopefully we can carry that momentum into the playoffs against a tough Reading team. Stay tuned for those results.
Away from the field most of my focus of late (other than this past weekend when my girlfriend was in town) has been on cleaning and packing up my apartment so that whenever our playoff run ends I can throw all my stuff in my car and leave at a moment’s notice. This is genuinely one of the worst parts of being a minor league baseball player. The awful bus travel, getting paid like an unpaid summer intern, crappy hotels, distance from family…the hassle of moving out at the end of the season is right up there with all of that. The reason being that as players we are entirely responsible for setting up our own housing so despite the fact that we are setting up what amounts to temporary housing in our minds we still have to set everything up as though it were our permanent residence. Throw in the facts that guys move around during the course of the year and that we don’t know our move-out date because we are in the playoffs and it is a major headache. Our cable and gas bills are set up through players who are no longer in Akron and getting a final walk through on our apartment will be impossible so we will be at the mercy of the complex management on the final condition of our apartment. Fun times for all, capped off by long drives for most of us. Aside from dealing with the annoyance that is our apartment situation I have been doing my typical reading, painting and exploring the area on foot when I get the chance. On the heels of the sale of my first painting I decided to go back to the well again so I am working on selling another recently completed piece, again of what I would consider to be dubious workmanship but I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. On the reading front I recently polished off Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick and I’m currently working on Richard Wright’s masterpiece Native Son. I meant to read Native Son a few years ago when I went on an African-American literature kick over the winter, but I am just now getting around to reading it and I have been totally absorbed since the moment I picked it up. Well, I should really get back to packing and cleaning before I head to the field. Look for updates on the playoffs as they unfold and until next time, enjoy this poem.
By Anne Pierson Wiese
There are many people who spend their nights
on the subway trains. Often one encounters
them on the morning commute, settled int corners,
coats over their heads, ragged possessions heaped
around themselves, trying to remain in their own night.
This man was already up, bracing himself against
the motion of the train as he folded his blanket
the way my mother taught me, and donned his antique blazer,
his elderly sleep-soft eyes checking for the total effect.
Whoever you are–tell me what unforgiving series
of moments has added up to this one: a man
making himself presentable to the world in front
of the world, as if life has revealed to him the secret
that all our secrets from one another are imaginary.
Hello again. Sorry for the long interval since I last posted, but with the end of the season looming and the playoffs to follow shortly after that there should be no lack for blog fodder in the immediate future. Since I last checked in things have been rather annoyingly consistent. We won two games against Bowie (the third being postponed) and then began the many varieties of the same thing. A four game split against Erie, a four game split with Bowie and losing two of three games to Binghamton with one game left to keep up our roll of splits. Over the last month we have split all of our four game series and alternated 2-1 series wins and losses the rest of the time. Like I said: annoyingly consistent. Having said all that, however, our series at Bowie ended in our clinching a playoff spot and the ensuing celebration is the type of thing that every professional athlete should get to experience at least once. I also have continued to throw the ball well and have picked up a couple saves and haven’t given up any runs since my last post over five or so appearances, which is an encouraging sign.
Off the field I haven’t had a whole lot to report. As usual I have been doing a lot of reading. I recently finished off a few books of poetry, Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones, Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick and I am almost through Hot, Flat and Crowded by (Minnesota native) Thomas L. Friedman. Probably the most interesting of my recent experiences came after a day game when I decided to take a walk down by the Cuyahoga River. Being around sunset there were the usual deer, raccoons and other various small mammals running around, but what was somewhat surprising to me was seeing a couple of river otters romping around and having a gay old time. I had been under the impression that river otters were extinct in this area of the country but turns out they were reintroduced at different points over the last twenty-five or so years and now they live on many Ohio rivers. I just thought it was cool because I’d never seen them outside of a zoo. Much less exciting was walking between two trees and getting a sizable spider web to the face about twenty minutes later. No worries about the spider though, as it apparently managed to bite me on the calf before I shooed it away. Can’t really blame it I guess. Anyhow, I’ll make sure to check back in again sometime in the near future and keep you updated on the playoffs, but until then I leave you with a Czeslaw Milosz poem (by request, even though I find a lot of his stuff overrated I do like some of his more recent work). Until next time.
by Czeslaw Milosz
When the sun rises
it illuminates stupidity and guilt
which are hidden in the nooks of memory
and invisible at noon.
Here walks a many-tiered man.
On his upper floors a morning crispness
and underneath, dark chambers
which are frightening to enter.
He asks forgiveness
from the spirits of the absent ones
who twitter far below
at the tables of buried cafes.
What does that man do?
He is frightened of a verdict,
now, for instance,
or after his death.
Hello again out there in cyberspace. It has been another fairly uneventful week, but not necessarily a bad or non-productive one. Our week on the road was much the same as our previous week at home, again taking two of three games from the Connecticut Defenders and again losing two of three games to the New Britain Rock Cats to again end the week at 3-3 overall. As I said previously, I’m not sure that any of us are happy with losing a series, especially after we started the road trip on such a positive note, but having a .500 week is a luxury that we have earned by being 8.5 games up on second place and 10 on third place and a playoff spot at this point of the season. I also had a similarly disappointing performance, frustratingly appearing in only one game during the trip. In the first inning of my appearance I struck out two guys with a runner in scoring position t keep the game tied in the ninth but then gave up a run to lose the game in the tenth. Again, I came out of the gates with a good performance but ended on a disappointing note in giving up the run and then having to sit on it for the duration of the trip. So from both a personal and team perspective we will strive for better performance moving forward as we continue to chip away at our magic number (13 for the playoffs, 14 for first place), while realizing that a .500 couple of weeks is no cause for worries at this point of the season.
Off the field there hasn’t been a whole lot to report. As the season gets to this point every year and the body starts to get a bit tired I tend to cut back on the extra curriculars and take it pretty easy away from baseball. Probably the most notable thing that has happened over the last week is that I finally sold my first painting. It was one of those things that I decided to do based on my trip to the Akron Art Museum and seeing all the terrible pieces that passed for art hanging there. I figured I could make something as good as most of the things there and rather than just sit around saying it I decided to put my money where my mouth is, go forward with an attempt to start putting color to canvas, and paint something. I won’t say that the result was a modern masterpiece or anything, but I think the results were pretty good (as good as most similar stuff anyhow). Anyway, based on this initial success I am planning on doing a few more paintings (probably with an eye towards subsidizing my book collecting habits) and hopefully I’ll have another painting done in the next few weeks. Other than selling the painting, the main excitement of the week was finishing a few books on the road trip. I finished off R.A. Scotti’s Vanished Smile about the theft of the Mona Lisa, Fury the first of what will probably be the first of many novels I read by Salman Rushdie, and possibly the best book I’ve read this year: Loot by Sharon Waxman. I’ll be sure to update you again sometime during the upcoming days during our series with playoff hopefuls Bowie and Erie and until then I leave you with a poem.
by Jeffrey Yang
How easy it is to lose oneself
in a kelp forest. Between
canopy leaves, sunlight filters thru
the water surface; nutrients
bring life where there’d other-
wise be barren sea; a vast eco-
system breathes. Each
Hello once more. This installment follows and unspectacular week of baseball that saw a flurry of inter-divisional play in the Eastern League that squared us off against Connecticut and New Britain. We won the series against the Defenders 2-1 and lost the series against the Rock Cats by the same count, resulting in an overall 3-3 record over our six game home stand. It wasn’t anything flashy or inspiring but at this point in the season and with a reasonable lead in our division we can get away with playing .500 for a week now and then even if we should aspire to more. We have an opportunity to try it all over again starting tomorrow when we square off against Connecticut and then New Britain following a day off and a hellishly long road trip made worse by a road construction induced delay. Personally I threw once in each series and managed not to surrender a run so I guess that’s good and hopefully I can replicate those performances in my upcoming outings.
Hello again out there in cyberspace. I am happy to report that things are looking up since I last checked in. The Erie team that seemed invincible in their own park was noticeably more so back home in Akron. We swept all four games from Erie and didn’t leave any of the outcomes in doubt, outscoring the SeaWolves 34-9 overall in the series. After the Erie series we went on the road to Binghamton and rolled through the series. The final game was a tight affair from start to finish resulting in a 3-2 victory, but the first two games were fairly lopsided with our offense propelling us out to early leads and the pitching holding on from there. The wins were badly needed for morale after our string of prior losses and they also pushed our “magic number” to clinch a playoff berth into the range where it becomes worth keeping track of at 26. As long as we keep our heads down and keep chugging along we’ll be through that in no time (hopefully). The week was also a good one for me as I had three appearances and didn’t allow a run, but more importantly I stranded all five runners I inherited. Overall, it was a good week for both myself and the team to build upon for the last month of the season and into the playoffs.
My non-baseball activities over the last week have not been overly exciting. I finished a few more books from the huge unread pile I have that I can’t stop myself from adding to. The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl was an interesting and engaging historical novel about the circumstances surrounding Charles Dickens’ last novel that I had been meaning to read for a while, and I also started and finished two Pulitzer Prize winning poetic works: Native Guard by Natasha Tretheway and Practical Gods by Carl Dennis. Also, on the day off yesterday I watched the movie Waltz with Bashir while I was laying out a painting. The movie was excellent, probably the best movie I’ve seen from last year. The painting…didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped it would. A couple of the colors didn’t work out as I would have liked, but since I’m basically doing it as a joke anyway I’m not sure it really matters. Well, I think I’m going to call that good for now so I can go start in on a new book (Loot by Sharon Waxman), do some of the cleaning up I intended to do yesterday and then head to the field. Until next time, I leave you with a poem by the great Langston Hughes and encourage you to visit this website to hear Hughes explain his inspiration for the poem and also give a reading of it.
The Negro Speaks of Rivers
by Langston Hughes
I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.
I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.