Walt "Wally" Whitman, the erstwhile center fielder for the American Canons and pitcher for the Cosmic All-Stars, turns 193 today.
While very much the crafty veteran, the joy and exuberance with which Whitman takes the field while platooning with R.W. Emerson is evidenced in every bare-footed step he takes in the outfield grass.
In celebration of his birthday, we're presenting an excerpt from his little-known poetic homage to his American Canons teammate and captain, Ahab.
from "O Captain! My Captain!"
O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful season's done;
The team has weatherd every series, the penant we sought is won;
The trophy's near, the fans I hear, the scoreboard us exulting,
While follow eyes the final strike, the bleachers are rejoicing:
But O heart! heart! heart!
I think my eyes do fail,
Where on the mound my Captain stands,
He's pitching to a whale.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the cheers;
Rise up–for you the crowd goes mad–for you they chug their beers;
For you they clap and chant your name–for you bleachers are a-crowding;
For you they call, the waving mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear pitcher!
With an arm as if a wish
It is some dream that on the mound,
Youre throwing to a fish.
My Captain does not answer, he thinks only of the hitter;
My pitcher does not hear my voice, he sends forth his final splitter;
The season's ended safe and sound, the final road-trip done;
The last game, then on a plane, come in with penant won;
Exult, O fans, and blare, PA system!
But I, surprised and sick,
Watch my Captain dragged from the field,
Attached to Moby-Dick.