It must have been a Saturday for dad was in the living room coaching the Pirates from the old tweed couch. I, at the cantaloupe-colored kitchen counter was reading Heidi and nibbling an ice cream bar. Dad had one eye on the TV and one ear on the transistor Alley, Mazeroski, Double play, two away As dad tuned in, I tried tuning out the cheering, moaning fans the “stee-rikes” and “balls” and dad shouting “slide!” Here at Forbes Field, the bottom of the ninth The radio spit, crackled. Dad yelled “swing!” Silence groaned through Steel Valley. Dad stood, sighed, came my way and said, “Well, there is no joy in Mudville” as he opened the brown fridge door and poured a glass of Coke. “Daddy, what did you say? What’s Mudville?” “Mudville is the place where the mighty fall.” I swear the steel man’s blue eyes shone. He straightened up his spine, sipped his Coke, and then, it seemed, he sang. “The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville Nine that day…” His voice robust, began, his hands danced in midair. I was stunned, then mesmerized. Dad’s recitation rang like music through the screen up and down the street. “And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go, and now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.” It was the power of the rhythm, the pleasure of the rhyme and the utter surprise that this blue-collar dad—mine!— had committed to his memory some forty years ago “A Ballad of the Republic,” a song of hope pinned on a hero. There was no joy in Pittsburgh— true. Roberto Clemente had struck out, but dad had knocked it out of the park and I’d been lit by that poetic spark. Susan Delaney Spear is an associate professor of English at Colorado Christian University. She is the author of On Earth... (Resource, 2022), Beyond All Bearing (Resource, 2018) and the co-author of Learning the Secrets of English Verse (2022). You can find her at susandelaneyspear.com.