The Base Runner’s Bodhidharma
For Stephen Batchelor
He’s in the game punching a fast ball
To the far corner of right field.
Racing toward first base,
He pulls a muscle in his left calf.
Touching base, the hurt bites.
He achieves second, turns to third.
Between second and third he wants
To quit, but separates himself
To merely watch the pain.
If only he could get there! That
Would be a triple. But there
He turns, and watches himself see
The agony: only one path to home.
Come on, man, do it! Get’er done!
Keep at it, push yourself, you can do this!
After eight giant limping steps, he slides,
Beats the throw! An inside-the-park
home run! Yes! and springs up muddy,
And dances his dance! His teammates
Dash to him, leaping, slapping high fives.
It’s only the bottom of the fifth,
There’s a game to play yet; inning
by inning, game after game,
Living after living. He envisions
This circuit, through joy and pain,
Again and again, each dance new,
Win or lose, each step confident.