JOURNAL of the COSMIC BASEBALL ASSOCIATION Volume 16


The Railroad Stops in Syracuse

Poetry by Herm Card




"The Railroad Stops in Syracuse"

Syracuse —
a stop on the underground railroad
for slaves of the mid 1800’s south,
escapees from the plantations
that raised a white crop—
the cotton they picked,
the symbol of slavery.


And they sneaked off,
and on their way north
to Canada,
and freedom,
they might spend a night
hidden in Syracuse.


Jackie Robinson arrived
there
in 1946
on the train from Montreal
where he worked on
Mr. Branch Rickey’s farm,
a farm that also raised
a white crop—
white ballplayers,
to send south to Brooklyn.


But Jackie was following
the opposite route to escape
his slavery,
the slavery of the mid 1900’s
that kept the black man
off
the white man’s land,
off
the green grass
and rich dirt
of his athletic plantations.


When he left that train
from Montreal,
on his ride from slavery,
that white man’s train
with its black porters
and black conductors
and white engineer,
and stepped into the bright sunlight
and the harsh glare of the public eye
he was no longer just another Negro
aspiring to a white man’s job.


He was a black man opening
a door that could not be closed,
accompanied
by every man
and woman
and child
who had ever ridden that
other railroad —
fellow passengers
to freedom.


And he was anything but hidden
that first game in Syracuse
A lone black man
against a white background.




© 1997 Herm Card





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Herm Card- Poetry Plate
URL http://www.cosmicbaseball.com/cardpoem.html
Published: September 20, 1997
Updated: October 23, 1998 Copyright © 1997 by Herm Card
Email: editor@cosmicbaseball.com
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