Volume 23, Number 136, December 2020/January 2021 WINNER OF THE 2020 POETRY - THE MARJORIE MCINTOSH PRIZE - RHYMING An Old Athlete’s Lament by Royden McCoag
Oh, the night was white and snowy,
and the wind a little blowy
When the cops shut down old highway twentyone
But me and Sal and Mort were playing hockey in the Port
So we didn’t know a blizzard had begun.
Well, after a beer, or three, Sal tapped me on the knee
And said, “We better start a truckin’ to the north.”
So we staggered to the Ford, threw our sticks and gear aboard,
Waved adieu, and bravely sallied forth.
And we weren’t a bit afraid when I drove ‘ound the barricade
With all four wheels locked into power drive.
Then we bucked from pole to pole with Southampton home and goal
While the radio blared out a country jive.
Yet we might have turned about when we hit the first white-out
If we could’a’seen a place to make a yuwee,
For white spears were coming fast and sticking to the glass
And the wiper blades were gettin’ slow and gooey.
But, I’ll never reason how we all failed to see that plow
With its beacon beam and halogens a gleamin’
But we hit the blade dead on and I thought that we were gone
Or at least I hoped that we were all a dreamin’.
Now I’m sitting here, in jail, while my wife is raising bail
For they tell me I blew one point three or four.
But Sal and Mort are fine - didn’t have to walk no line
And haven’t got a cut or bruise or sore.
But my trucks a total wreck and the plow crew’s mad as heck
And the adjuster won’t give me the time of day.
For my insurance’s null and void and the courts I can’t avoid
For reckless driving on a closed off Queen’s Highway.
Yes, my license been suspended and my hockey season’s ended
And my winter driving record’s hit a glitch,
But we’re glad to be alive and in four weeks, or five
We’ll have the season opener for slow-pitch.