The Escape, The Error and The Flash of Genius

No joy in Mudville tonight, for mighty Casey has struck out . . .

And now, a few words from William Carlos Williams:

The Crowd at the Ball Game

(Published in The Dial, 1923)

William Carlos Williams in 1954

The crowd at the ball game
is moved uniformly

by a spirit of uselessness
which delights them —

all the exciting detail
of the chase

and the escape, the error
the flash of genius —

all to no end save beauty
the eternal –

So in detail they, the crowd,
are beautiful

for this
to be warned against

saluted and defied —
It is alive, venomous

it smiles grimly
its words cut —

The flashy female with her
mother, gets it —

The Jew gets it straight – it
is deadly, terrifying —

It is the Inquisition, the

It is beauty itself
that lives

day by day in them
idly —

This is
the power of their faces

It is summer, it is the solstice
the crowd is

cheering, the crowd is laughing
in detail

permanently, seriously
without thought


2 thoughts on “The Escape, The Error and The Flash of Genius

  1. Are you familiar with Williams’ contemporary, Marianne Moore, who was even more acutely appreciative of the high art of baseball? Check out ‘Hometown Piece for Messrs. Alston and Reese’.

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