Your Last Conference

One of the reasons that I rarely write poetry right after a Georgia football game is that time usually puts the experience in perspective. Other reasons include laziness, the rapid passage of time, and trying to scrape together a living, yet none of those things can prevent my continuing the tradition began last year. Last week's game was less than inspiring, but I think most of us are ready to move on to real football.

So here is my first real entry of the 2012 season; it is based on Browning's "My Last Duchess." This poem is a chilling, conversational work that is written from the point of view of a duke who SPOILER ALERT had his last wife killed for imagined offenses. Granted, that sounds more like something Nick Saban would do than any of our coaching staff, yet with a little tweaking, Dark Richt could take over the role.

I wanted to get this up because I will be out of town for the rest of the week, so I apologize for any rough spots or errors that I have not had time to polish out. Internet access over the next fiveish days is not guaranteed, so time was of the essence. I hope this weekend goes better than last weekend and that we welcome Mizzou properly to the SEC with some smash-mouth, old man football. With apologies to Robert Browning:

That's your last conf'rence playing some football,
looking as if it were alive. I call
that thing a jumble, now: Dan Beebe's hands
worked busily for weeks ‘midst shifting sands.
Will't please you watch from SEC, I said,
and open ‘gainst a team wearing black and red
that strangers like you pictured as Big 12;
its depth and passion none have yet to delve
into in terms of tape (since none puts by
the details I have told to you, but I)
though talking heads would ask me, as they durst,
of which guys will play there; so, not the first
are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ‘twas not
the SEC's fans who gave you your spot
in college football's greatest conference;
Mike Slive did say, with overconfidence,
"We need more Tigers to make us money;
won't three teams called the Tigers be funny?"
SEC fans felt bile rise in their throats,
though it was nothing personal, one notes
after calling out the blogosphere that had
reacted--with much venom--to the fad
of adding conf'rence teams willy-nilly
in a manner that was really silly.
Sir, ‘twas all one! Disfavor of the refs,
the dropping of the ball under duress,
the teams unneeded some officious fools
foisted on the league that already rules
the college football landscape--all and each
would draw from them alike disapproving speech,
or profanity, at least. None they thanked
for forcing into conf'rence teams unranked
on most people's "expansion to-do" lists.
The fans asked why the bigwigs would do this
annoying trifling with the schedules set
in stone, making great traditions upset.
Quite clear to such a team, I say, "Just this
or that does not impress me; here you miss,
and won't exceed this Mark"--and if it let
itself be lessoned so, when vainly set
its wits to ours, and Big Twelveness strive to lose--
e'en then would be some stomping, and I choose
sometimes to stomp. Oh sir, you smile before
you've met our passer and our stout front four
plus our defense, which, when Grantham commands,
makes all smiles stop together. There they stand,
mean and alive. Will't please you rise? We'll meet
in Columbia in the Summer heat
of the second week of your first full year
of playing football on the utmost tier
while your last conference tries to cohere,
and we seek our conf'rence title so dear.
Now that we have all of that straight, we'll go
together down, sir. Notice Knowshon, though,
taming a Gator, thought a rarity,
which Richard Samuel cast in bronze for me!



My base prototype for the beginnings of a bronze-cast statue of Knowshon taming a Gator.

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