baseball-eye-b-red-bl2-september-22-2016s

author’s note:

I’ll put a lot of mental energy into developing a good belief…

…only to forget it when I most need it.
 

A BETTER MEASURE

The headline read:
“No Win for Corwin”

and the photo below showed him
sitting at the end of a hardwood bench
his head lowered
his shoulders slumped
his fist hidden in the darkness
of a baseball glove.

The article said
young Corwin had struck out
thirteen batters

only to wreck
all his good work
with one bad pitch
in the final at bat…

rough, yes
but maybe that loss
will help prepare Corwin
for adult life
because
we live by a crazy math
in which a positive “13”
is often seen
as less than negative “1”.

In response to such
unjust arithmetic
I long ago adopted
this simple homespun belief
(suitable for needlepoint):

when I look at what I’ve done
I see I must be trying
to teach myself, because
I’m always learning:

learning seems to be
our reason for being—
so I say
we should not measure success
by wins and losses
but instead
by understanding gained.

A belief supported
by my experience:

having known
a lot of blindness
but also a little bit of sight
I can say for certain:
ignorance is not bliss
understanding is.

However
even good beliefs breed doubt

and so I’ll sometimes wonder
if I’m only using this belief
to soften the pain of loss…

well, maybe I am, but maybe
that’s okay:

because in my darkest days
(when I’m slumped like Corwin)
if I can remember that belief

I’ll see a little light

or
on especially blessed occasions…
a lot.
 

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: a poetry book

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