A REFUGE FOR POETS WHO WRITE IN THE LYRIC TRADITION,
WITH RHYME AND METER, WITH OR WITHOUT MUSIC
AGE OF INNOCENCE
Mickey Mantle passed away
In his sleep the other day.
People say he represents
The age of innocence.
This small-town Oklahoma boy
Who played the game for love and joy,
Who had no equal in his prime,
Reminds us of a simpler time:
When kids were raised by Mom and Dad,
Knew right from wrong, and good from bad,
Went to church on Sunday,
Were safe in school on Monday.
When people stayed with one career
For twenty, thirty, forty years,
Were able with one salary
To raise a family.
When we had faith in government
And trusted every president;
When we believed the human race
Could make the world a better place.
When baseball games were played on grass,
With broken windows, broken bats,
In vacant lots and public parks,
And kids went home when it got dark.
In major leagues we see the likes
Of union reps and player strikes,
Million dollar salaries,
Tax evasion, guilty pleas.
The game itself has gotten worse
With wild card chases, astroturf,
And designated hitters.
No wonder fans are bitter.
Mickey Mantle now has died.
Children wondered, grown men cried.
We will remember, now and then,
An age that cannot come again.
Saranac Lake, New York, 1995