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Practicing Basketball in Farm Country
Jeff Burt


Dribbling around a wagon or a chair
was as good as having an opponent
except for the reach, but a broom
placed with wide end out could prove
an arm or hand meant to steal a ball.

I learned to dribble on grass, on the gravel
of a grist mill with a hoop posted flat
against the board and batten, kept
a spare ball inside in warmth in winter
to trade for the first ball deflated by the cold.

My father told me to always work
on my passing, hitting the chalked-up silhouette
of a player on the side of the mill,
that I could assist many more times
in life than I would score.

© by Jeff Burt.
Used with the author’s permission.



Jeff Burt lives on the Central Coast of California with his wife. He has worked in electronics and mental health administration. Jeff claims to have learned about never-ending energy from his grandchildren, and about perpetual motion opportunities from his Labrador; he is grateful for both. You can see more of Jeff's work here, and learn more about him at

Post New Comment:
Very fun poem. Basketball and winter time go hand in hand for me! Love the detail of keeping a spare ball in the warmth!
Posted 01/21/2020 12:07 PM
Love this.
Posted 01/21/2020 11:50 AM
Arlene Gay Levine:
Beautiful life lessons both in the poem and on your country road...Thanks, Jeff!
Posted 01/21/2020 11:13 AM
As a basketball fan, I know the assist is about the team and the win. It gives every member the chance to contribute their best. Isn�t that a wonderful way to go through life?
Posted 01/21/2020 07:15 AM

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