Man & the Infield Fly Rule
Infield Fly is a fair ball . . . which can be caught
an infielder with ordinary effort . . . .
Baseball Rule 2.0
Unfold your painted wooden seat and claim
an armrest, leverage for taking in
the unsolved beauty of this changeless game,
its quantum gibberish of rules played out
across a field of seeming symmetry,
its bounds obliquely reached, a single point
dilated over infield skin of sand
and clay, past level thriving grounds; a game
the worried peace of which is split by sprints,
by hurly-burly, dives and gallops, then
assessment through another worried peace,
from start to end, the ending settled not
by sun nor pendulum—only deferred
now and again by the caprice of heav’n—
but played however long until it’s done:
this changeless game, as perfect as the earth.
Yet with a force at third and with
or no one out, a ball hit high and short
obliges us to face the hateful gain
our less than ordinary effort could
and surely would provoke, watching it fall
untouched and damning, with deliberate,
unsporting disregard, watching it strand
and doom our rivals to the luckless clay,
the heartless sand, the certain fate. A less
than ordinary effort rewarded
obliges us to legislate around
the barrenness of our integrity.
This, this impenetrable joy is
but we by turns undo it, we alone.
An infield fly, with an
trajectory against the evening,
hangs emblematic of a cast off moon.
Charles Edward Wright was raised on a narrow neck of land between the Potomac River and the Mattawoman Creek, in a town where the eggs were never poached, but the venison likely had been. It stands to reason, then, that his work would appear too infrequently to warrant mention here.