We Cannot Know His Legendary Head

I have written a poem about Manny Ramirez. It is a villanelle in honor of National Poetry Month and in response to Patrick DuBuque’s challenge to write a baseball villanelle. You may recognize the form from better poets like Dylan Thomas and Sylvia Plath.

We cannot know his legendary head,
We cannot know his riddle-speak, his swing,
His heart that greets no consequence, no dread.

 

Oblivious (or publicly misread),
He went forth like a jester, like a king.
We cannot know his legendary head.

 

Ramirez never anguished, never bled.
Perfection seemed a right and simple thing.
His heart? It greets no consequence, no dread.

 

A paradox: collective joy and dread
Awash in pride and drunk on estrogen–
We cannot know his legendary head.

 

A selfish man and insecure, they said.
But maybe public shame can even sting
A heart that greets no consequence, no dread.

 

And maybe all the jokes had turned to lead,
The time had come to leave the center ring.
We’ll never know his legendary head,
His heart that greets no consequence, no dread.

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