He was apparently a baseball fan, too. One of his poems was devoted to a New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers game at the Polo Grounds, and ran in the August 22, 1942 issue of The New Yorker. In dramatizing an utterly ordinary mid-summer inning of baseball, Humphries (manfully resisting sentimentality but sometimes succumbing, it must be said) names many players on the '42 New York Giants team (Jurges, Witek, Reese, Mize, et al), and many ball players who by mid-century were long gone. He considers a well-executed infield play, and the several moments it takes, and then the game's languor, and an afternoon, and time, and this:
The shadow movesLoss and the natural world, indeed.
From the plate to the box, from the box to second base,
From second to the outfield, to the bleachers
Time is of the essence. The crowd and the players
Are the same age always, but the man in the crowd
Is older every season. Come on, play ball!
|The Polo Grounds, mid-1940s|
Photo of Humphries via John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Image of Polo Grounds via Etsy.