Casey at the Pen
by Herm Card

The outlook wasn't brilliant for my poetry that day,
The clock said four to two and I had nothing much to say.
And every time I tried a verse it came out sounding lame,
The more I tried the worse it got, each stanza seemed the same.

A word or two would hit the page, but couldn't stand the test;
They made no sense, they had no flair-nowhere near my best.
I thought if only Casey, could but get a whack at that,
I'd bet the ranch that I'd be done in twenty minutes flat.

Where was this muse I needed, to get my poem done?
The guy whose inspiration I've used for more than one.
I thought if only Casey could stop to help me out,
I'd have the problem conquered, of this there is no doubt.

I tried to paraphrase Shakespeare, and also William Blake,
But the former was a lulu, the latter was a fake.
So there upon my stricken brain, grim melancholy sat,
And there seemed but little chance that Casey could fix that.

But then my dog, the fearsome Nick, let loose a lusty yell,
Reacting as he always does to the ringing of the bell.
It rattled all the windows and echoed through my flat,
And Casey, mighty Casey, arrived, and tipped his hat.

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into my place
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile upon his face.
And he responded as my cheers recoiled throughout my den,
There was no room for any doubt, 'twas Casey at the pen.

"Now here's the problem, sir", I said, "here's why you're at my door,
I need to write a Christmas poem, but not like Clement Moore.
I always write my Christmas ode, with a really clever twist,
To give to all my friends each year some cheer they might have missed.

"But this year nothing's working-I really feel the fool-
Unable to produce a thing for all the folks at school.
I'd pretty much abandoned hope, given up, but then,
You showed up on my doorstep, you and your mighty pen."

I saw his face go stern and cold I saw his muscles strain
I knew that Casey wouldn't let that rhyme go by again.
"That ain't my style." said Casey," That ain't the stuff I do."
He signaled that I take a seat, and then his words just flew.

"First of all I ain't that guy Casey from Mudville 'cause I didn't strike
out in front of the home crowd like he did and send 'em home crying. I'm
the Casey named Stengel from Kansas City that hit a couple a home runs in
Yankee Stadium that beat these here fellas in 1923 when I played fer them
Giants which was about the last time those local teams did mucha anything
there until the Brooklyns ruined my Christmas in '55 when I was there with
Mantle and Berra and I sure didn't write no poem about that.

"So you think I'm the guy to write a poem about Christmas, but I ain't and
I'll tell you this, that Christmas ain't about no poems and it ain't about
no stockings, even the white ones from Chicago and it ain't about any of
those things that have price tags cause that's not what the General Manager
that started this club had in mind.

"Christmas has to do with helpin' out the other folks on the team and
makin' room next to you on the bench and not bein' afraid to sacrifice or
pinch hit. And this guy Santa really ain't the guy either, but, even
though he's outta shape, I'd use him in relief against the Grinch who can't
hit the curve down and in.

"What you need to tell your friends, young feller, is just that Christmas
is a time for good cheer and peace and love and all that, but you need to
be able to do it all year if you want to be called up to the Big Club, and
if you work together you got a shot at the Series every year and you don't
hafta worry about gettin' sent back down to Toledo for more work and almost
forgotten like that feller Scrooge who had a dickens of a time makin' his
comeback and then in '56 my guy Mantle won the triple crown and..."

And as the "Ol' Perfesser" rambled on and on and on
I realized he'd said it all, my need to write was gone.
So all you have to do is figure out just what he said
And add my "Merry Christmas" when all his lines you've read.

And so my poem was finished, my message had been passed,
My Christmas job completed, my work was done at last.
I owed it all to Casey, and his poetic clout
But when I turned to thank him-Mighty Casey had snuck out.

© 1994. Herm Card.

Herm Card is a CBA member and currently director of the cosmic umpires.

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Casey at the Pen
Published: March 10, 1997
Updated: October 23, 1998

© 1997 by the Cosmic Baseball Association