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The Old Fan

From the Evening Star, April 26, 1914.

He comes every day to see them play
    Where the noisy bleachers shout.
From the first of May in the thick of the fray
    You find him day in and out.

He once had wealth and he once had health,
    But they both went long ago;
He’s lost his wealth and comes in stealth
    To the game he used to know.

He works in the fall just enough to call
    Together a hundred or two,
That shall average all the days of ball
    And take him the summer through.

He never is seen in the winter keen
    From the day of final fly
’Til spring is queen and the diamond’s green
    And the crack of the bat is nigh.

Then a little more pale and a little more frail
    He creeps out to the ground,
And leans o’er the rail when the flies they sail
    And studies the bushmen found.

By the first of May, at least so they say,
    He begins to get his voice,
And talk of the play in a running way
    And cackle about his choice.

His mind disturbed, he never is heard
    Until that first of May
To utter a word, then his heart is stirred
    And he shrieks at every play.

So every spring we are wondering,
    ’Til we see him creeping out,
If death’s dark wing has been hovering
    And fanned his life spark out.

He’s shriveling thin, the spirit within
    Is all that keeps him about;
When the home nine wins his cheek bones’ skin
    Shows a hectic flush without.

And I often think that a breath will wink
    That frail life spirit out
And break the link at death’s near brink
    If the home team’s put to rout.

So here’s to the Fan, to the also ran,
    May he live on the bleachers here,
And stretch life’s span and cheat death’s ban
    For still another year!

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