Edward Hirsch

(20 January 1950 / Chicago)

Fast Break - Poem by Edward Hirsch

In Memory of Dennis Turner, 1946-1984


A hook shot kisses the rim and
hangs there, helplessly, but doesn't drop,

and for once our gangly starting center
boxes out his man and times his jump

perfectly, gathering the orange leather
from the air like a cherished possession

and spinning around to throw a strike
to the outlet who is already shoveling

an underhand pass toward the other guard
scissoring past a flat-footed defender

who looks stunned and nailed to the floor
in the wrong direction, trying to catch sight

of a high, gliding dribble and a man
letting the play develop in front of him

in slow motion, almost exactly
like a coach's drawing on the blackboard,

both forwards racing down the court
the way that forwards should, fanning out

and filling the lanes in tandem, moving
together as brothers passing the ball

between them without a dribble, without
a single bounce hitting the hardwood

until the guard finally lunges out
and commits to the wrong man

while the power-forward explodes past them
in a fury, taking the ball into the air

by himself now and laying it gently
against the glass for a lay-up,

but losing his balance in the process,
inexplicably falling, hitting the floor

with a wild, headlong motion
for the game he loved like a country

and swiveling back to see an orange blur
floating perfectly though the net.


Comments about Fast Break by Edward Hirsch

  • Marieta Maglas (9/15/2016 3:54:00 PM)


    of a high, gliding dribble and a man
    letting the play develop in front of him

    in slow motion, almost exactly
    like a coach's drawing on the blackboard, - wonderful poem (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Ratnakar Mandlik (9/15/2016 11:14:00 AM)


    Amazing narration of the moves of a player in the game with an equally amazing style making the whole poem greatly enjoyable. Thanks for sharing.10+ points. (Report) Reply

  • Neal Beightol Neal Beightol (9/15/2016 9:59:00 AM)


    Very vivid imagery. I see it all unfold. Enjoyable.
    :) (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis Edward Kofi Louis (9/15/2016 4:49:00 AM)


    To the wrong man! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Keith Oldrey (2/24/2012 11:26:00 AM)


    I see I will have tolearn more about basketball (Report) Reply

  • Keith Oldrey (2/24/2012 11:24:00 AM)


    I thought this was going to be about golf, but I enjoyed it. Sport the worlds greatest gift to civilization (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »



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Read poems about / on: memory, power, together, brother, kiss, lost



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Poem Edited: Friday, January 20, 2012


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