With the season’s Opening Day
Come the sound of bats    of balls

With Opening Day
Come the smell of leather
Of newly hewn grass
The sun on the back
Of dusty winds

The imagination moves
Of possibilities
Of your team doing best
Of being on top
Of leading the way

With Opening Day
Babe in front of his locker
Hi kid,”
To Babe, everyone is kid

With Opening Day
Come my self-declared holiday
No longer do I wait for Opening Day, National Holiday

It is    It is mine    It will always be

Isn't it a day when kids get sick?
Can't go to school?
When parents realize how serious this ailment is?
Isn't it a day when the mind can't concentrate?
Loses its power to steady?
A day the mind wanders hither and yon?

The watch consulted
The mind at the park
Number 3 steps out of the dugout
Seventy thousand rising cheers undulate

Players pick up    feel
Scratchy new uniforms

With Opening Day
The stomach jumps

Meeting with the watch
Train leaves    one hour
What to do with such immense expanse of time?
A visit to the bathroom

Players pulling up their trousers now
Ready to step into black shining shoes
A gleaming pearl in the starter’s shoe

What are the umpires doing now?
This moment?
Probably not at the park
Sure they are
Where else to be?
Not having a leisurely meal
Not now

Into the pockets
Yep    the tickets

Sit down    Stand up
Down at the watch
To the window
Up at the sky

Bright white sphere in ethereal blue
Sparkling on emerald green
An umbrella of cobalt blue

The wind in the trees is light
An outfielder glides under a ball
Will there be any spectacular plays today?

The shoulders rise
The blood pumps    Thump    Thump

The watch
Still to wait

They've got to be throwing the ball around now
On Opening Day, did Babe get butterflies?

Such ritual

Opening Day
A National Holiday
We must make it so

Welcome to Opening Day, kid.”

Pete & Mike Murray, Fort Meade, Maryland

1997 J.S. Murray
First published in the World Wide Church of Baseball

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