Monday, June 09, 2008

Powe-etry in motion

With apologies to Edgar Allen, who was born in Boston in 1809...

Once upon a playoffs dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious story of champions past,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping on my parquet floor.
`'Tis someone off the bench,' I muttered, `dribbling on my parquet floor -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the hot, hot June,
And each separate air conditioner cooled upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my sports columns' surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Celtics of Yore -
For the rare and radiant Celtics whom the angels named the Big Three of Yore -
Champions here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each basketball short
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some Laker entreating a post-season win on my parquet floor -
Some Phil Jackson entreating the refs on my parquet floor; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Doc,' said I, `Mr. Rivers, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and through playoffs you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at the finals door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Kobe was there, and little more.

Deep into that player peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming of championships Celtics fans ceased to dream before
But the home-court advantage was unbroken, and the Celtics gave no token,
And the only words there spoken was the whispered words, `one more!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the words, `one more!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped Three like those of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made they; not a minute stopped or stayed they;
But, with mien of lord, perched above rim on my parquet floor -
Perched by a bust of Russell just above my parquet floor -
Perched, and stood, and nothing more.

Then this ebony Three beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance they wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Garnett grim and Allen - stars wandering from other franchise's shores -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Playoff shore!'
Quoth the Three, `champions...evermore.'

Much I marveled these lanky Celtics to hear discourse so plainly,
Though their answer held little meaning – until they win the final four;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing Bird on his parquet floor -
Bird or Pierce above the backboard rim above the parquet floor,
With such a cry as `champions...evermore'

But the Russell, sitting lonely on the placid bench, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a uniform fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other champions have flown before -
On the morrow they will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then he said of the Lakers, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only what came before,
Caught from some unhappy fanbase whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till in the cellar the fanbase bore -
Till the dirges of our hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "champions...Never-nevermore."'

But the Celtics still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of the big screen TV on the floor;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous Three of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous Three of yore
Meant in croaking `champions...evermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the players whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the TV-light gloated o'er,
But whose bright, wide-screen with the TV-light gloating o'er,
The Lakers' press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Auerbach whose foot-falls shuffled on the parquet floor.
`Coach,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - with those players he has sent thee
Rivers - Rivers recalls fondly our memories of the parquet floor!
Quaff, oh quaff in the Garden seats, and recall the glories of the parquet floor!'
Quoth the Russell, `Lakers...Nevermore.'

`Jackson!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if coach or devil! -
Whether Laker sent, or the playoffs tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this Celtic team enchanted -
In this Garden by Pierce and Powe haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in LA? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the Russell, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if coach or devil!
By that official that bends above us - by that hoop we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Arena,
Celtics clasp a sainted trophy somewhere away from their parquet floor -
Clasp a seventeenth radiant trophy, maybe on their parquet floor?'
Quoth the Rajon, `champions...evermore.'

`Be those words our sign of parting, Phil or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Nation's Pacific shore!
Leave no purple sock as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my dreams of winning unbroken! - quit the bench on the parquet floor!
Take thy team from out my Hub, and take thy Lakers from off my door!'
Quoth the Celtics, `Nevermore.'

And the Jackson, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the bench, of the refs complaining sitting by my parquet floor;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – Champions again and forevermore!

Now that I have posted this, the boys in green better win.


Dave said...

Wow...did you take the day off from work for that? :)

Kevin Smith said...


Suldog said...

I just saw this (guess I didn't scroll down far enough yesterday.)

Magnificent. I'm adding a link to it to my post today.

Kevin Smith said...


This is what happens when an English major and sports fan meet in the same body.