Sunday, August 7, 2011

Immortalizing Heroes of the Gridiron and Diamond

Recognizing Nash's passion for his hometown NFL team, Life Magazine offered Nash the opportunity to showcase his poetry in 'My Colts - Verses and Reverses', their December 13, 1968 cover story.

Nash penned a poem about Bubba Smith, the 6' 7", 280 lb defensive end who passed away last week, ensuring that Smith's legacy will live on:

Bubba Smith

When hearing tales of Bubba Smith
You wonder if he's man or myth.
He's like a hoodoo, like a hex,
He's like Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Few manage to topple in a tussle
Three hundred pounds of hustle and muscle.
He won't complain if double-teamed;
It isn't Bubba who gets creamed.

What gained this pair of underminers?
Only four Forty-niner shiners.

'Verses and Reverses' was as much a tribute to the nation's adoration for Nash as it was to the Colts. How many contemporary poets have ever been featured on the cover of a popular national magazine?

Nash wrote several poems about baseball in his career. As the story goes, when the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore in 1953, the versifier composed this poem for a testimonial dinner:

You Can't Kill an Oriole

Wee Willie Keeler
Runs through the town,
All along Charles Street,
In his nightgown.
Belling like a hound dog,
Gathering the pack:
Hey, Wilbert Robinson,
The Orioles are back!
Hey, Hughie Jennings!
Hey, John McGraw!
I got fire in my eye
And tobacco in my jaw!
Hughie, hold my halo.
I'm sick of being a saint:
Got to teach youngsters
To hit 'em where they ain't.

Copyright © by Linell Nash Smith and Isabel Nash Eberstadt.

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