Buckeye Poetry: Appreciation, Explanation and "Ohio Stadium in Summer"

BuckeyePoetLaureate's picture
July 14, 2013 at 2:15p

Fellow Buckeyes -

First of all, I have to thank all of the folks who were so kind in the comments of my first Buckeye poetry blog post.  I expected people to be nice, as I've been lurking on 11W for quite some time, but I had no idea that my little poem would inspire some of you guys and gals to write poetry of your own!  As I said, I'm a writer and a teacher, so there isn't much that makes me happier than fostering a critical spark in others.  So keep them coming!

And I wanted to say a few words about poetry itself.  Sometimes I forget about good-hearted people who have misconceptions about poetry and what it can be.  Poetry is really just playing with words in order to tell a story or communicate a feeling.  Think about your children or remember what you were like when you were young.  You loved playing with words; they were magic!  Many of us lose this idea along the way.  I will agree that some poetry is a little hard to understand at first; I get it.  It's the same as a quarterback trying to read a college defense after years of looking at high school defenses.  Success is determined by practice and open-mindedness.  When you read my poems or those of others, go ahead and let your shields down.  We're all just playing with language to glorify our Buckeyes or to make fun of Brady Hoke or to understand how we feel about our recent troubles and so on.  I'll use the metaphor again: our Buckeye poetry is like NFL Films.  Both of these things look at sports through a specific lens and help us understand them on a different level.

This week, friends, I present a poem that is appropriate for this time of the year.  We're all waiting for kickoff of the 2013 season, but it seems like FOREVER, right?  The truth is that the spirit of Ohio State athletics is never dormant.

Ohio Stadium in Summer

Kenneth Nichols

To untrained eyes, the ‘Shoe is lying dormant;
So few walk past, so few may stir within.
The scoreboard dead, concessions locked and shuttered.
The nearby streets are tranquil, the feeling grim.
A die-hard knows that memories unspool
Unendingly in the North Rotunda glass,
That the sideline prowled by Woody, Earle and Tress
Is studded by their harried and happy footfalls.
If your heart and mind are open, if you squint
Your eyes just right, then Buckeye Grove is lush
With All-American ghosts.  There’s George and Griffin
Reliving runs.  There’s Hopalong and Hawk
Comparing notes on beating that team up north.
The chants—O-H!—I-O! may well recede
When kickoff looms long months or weeks away,
But the cheers of the Buckeye faithful never die.

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