A Basketball Poem: Free Time The Society October 10, 2012 Poetry By Catherine Tufariello Their shrieks careening dizzily between Delight and outrage, the students in the yard Are playing hard, Though they have little room and nothing green In their asphalt pen. Nothing but fences, bricks, And at regulation height, a pair of hoops From which gray loops Vestigially descend. With graceful flicks And swoops they pass, block, feint and argue fouls, And all the while the staccato, meaty thwack— Now quick, now slack— Thrums on, a backbeat to their cheers and howls. Three stories up, on her habitual perch, A black-and-white cat observes the scene, Brushing the screen With her whiskers, as intent on scan and search As though the swirl below were birds or fish. In the cacophony, it seems she hears The singing spheres, Each ear a separately tuning radar dish. I join her at the window, and together We watch the game until the tardy bell, Whose clanging knell Recalls them, some still wrangling over whether The last shot counted. In the sudden peace, A handyman, belt slung with rules and hammers, Appears and clambers Onto the gym roof. While a scrawl of geese Ripples on windy gray in ragged flight, He gathers up the balls that got away And spent the day Aimlessly free—red, orange, purple, white— And punts them, in bright arcs, back into play. From Free Time, Robert L. Barth, publisher, © 2001; originally published in The Hudson Review. Reprinted with permission. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.