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Alumnus at Spartan Field
Danny Earl Simmons


It’s just turned cold in the mornings
on the field where wide-shouldered
young men hone the heat of their prime
and imagine that they are gods.

He hears the clash of power
against power, the grunts, the curses, 
the bleeding, that old gravelly voice
snarling into the sweaty steam of stupid youth.

He watches until his soft body shivers
and his tired joints begin to ache
with the stiffness of relentless melancholy
and a longing for the ball.

This poem first appeared in Strong Verse (January 2013).
Used here with the author’s permission.


Danny Earl Simmons has lived in the Mid-Willamette Valley of Oregon for more than 30 years. A graduate of Corvallis High School and a friend of the Linn-Benton Community College Poetry Club, he is an active member of the Albany Civic Theater. Read more of Danny’s work at

Post New Comment:
You've captured the essence of the game, and of youth.
Posted 09/06/2013 08:46 PM
Danny has captured that feeling that all we ex-football players have--that we could do better than the kids out on the field--if it weren't for these "soft bodies" and "aching joints." Good poem!
Posted 09/06/2013 09:55 AM
I want to read more of this man's work! Fantastic poem and coincidentally, my grandson, Cias Hawkins scored three touchdowns last night for the South Caldwell Spartans JV team. Go Spartans!
Posted 09/06/2013 09:04 AM
Anyone who can combine longing and football certainly has the touch of a poet.
Posted 09/06/2013 08:40 AM
Janet Leahy:
Your picture with this child is itself a wonderful poem. Liked the melancholy and longing in your poem.
Posted 09/06/2013 08:01 AM
Very nice! Makes me long to take up the pompon and cheer!
Posted 09/06/2013 08:00 AM
Have sent this right to my football-loving, poetry-writing son!
Posted 09/06/2013 04:14 AM

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