by WILLIAM WORDSWORTH
There is a change—and I am poor;
Your love hath been, nor long ago,
A fountain at my fond heart’s door,
Whose only business was to flow;
And flow it did; not taking heed
Of its own bounty, or my need.
“Taking up the fiddle at 50”
I toss to the wind,
like a bad call on a perfect pitch,
“would be like your trying to throw again.”
I had thought the rotting zinnias clung to a memory
of success. I point out a jar of them
propped in the window.
“There is no going back,” he says, throws his gear
over his shoulder,
another glimmering testament:
“When I won, it was no big deal.
I was supposed to win,” he says.
“But when I lost,
we lost. I couldn’t go back and change it.”
I take lessons, play the scales back,
let the freshly dead (notes, petals, words)
confetti the kitchen floor.
I imagine, in September, the jar in the window
blushing with flowers,
and tolerate the dog’s rebuke.
Then I consider the solitary act
of so much bowing, as
strings ignite the sweet spot;
the burled neck, the smooth stroke,
and the cool relief of “Stack”
pitching out of the stretch:
“This is not Macbeth,” says teacher Liz, “We are not witches
stirring a pot!”
and she ruins me with an LP of Tommy Jarrell’s “Cripple Creek.”
What can I do but separate the cream
from all of that churning:
winding up a pitch;
throwing a cutter,
culling seeds from finished stalks;
riding a Ferris wheel in the dark…what
but trade blind hope—
for an alley cat’s complaint—
and keep listening to the masters.
4 Responses to Conversation with Two-Time Mid-American Conference Relief Pitcher Douglas Dean Stackhouse on Winning, Losing and Learning to Fiddle