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MN Sports Blog on November 6, 2015 - 11:04 pm in Sports Poems

Quothe the Redbird: Hope some more

I wrote this parody of “The Raven” sometime in the 1980’s and in reference to the Willmar Cardinals having a reputation at the time of the school with probably the most great boys BB teams that had never won a state title. Here’s what I can remember of it.


Once upon midnight deadline, while I struggled with a headline
That would best convey the impact of that evening’s hardcourt war
While I kept the keyboard snapping, suddenly there came a rapping,
As of someone gently rapping, tapping at the Tribune door
Tis some local coach, I muttered, rapping at the Tribune door
With some game results, I’m sure

The second stanza was about my annoyance at the interruption and the only lines I can remember are:

For my job has many stresses and the whirring of the presses
Can’t be heard until my pages have been filled and and not before

It continued:

If my memory doesn’t tarry it was late in February
And each separate Willmar quarry had been beaten to the floor
And we all awaited regions, so our dribbling, leaping legions
Could attempt the sweet completion of a drive to state once more
And perhaps, perchance go farther than any Willmar team before
Dare we hope for any more?

There was a stanza, I think, about not being able to see what was at the door. Then:

Deep into the night I peered, thinking, Golly, this is weird,
As I saw no indication what had rattled there before
But then I heard the flutter of some wings above the shutter
And I heard some creature utter, in a whisper, “Hope some more!”
And this raspy statement from the darkness shook me to the core
And I tried to close the door

But my guest outside was quicker than my hands, and in the flicker
Of a eye, a stately Redbird flew inside the Tribune door
It was a Redbird, my tormentor, whom I had not asked to enter
And he settled on the center of my desk, hard to ignore
Perched upon a stack of pages filled with fresh athletic lore
Perched and sat, and nothing more

The next few stanzas were me going back and forth with the Redbird with lines like “Bird, I dared, I must inquire, tell me what do you desire?” along with recalling heartbreaking losses by Cardinal teams in regions and state with lines like “Of those mighty teams remembered who no golden medals wore” capped by “And Coon Rapids in the duel of the titans closed the door, and we were getting pretty sore” referring to a duel of two 7-foot Division I recruits in the state semifinals

Frustrated by the Redbird’s evasiveness and taunting, as Poe was with his Raven, the narrative veered this way:

Having heard this feathered nuisance utter words of such translucence
I raged, “Clarify your vision, this suspense I must deplore!
Please reveal, and be emphatic, will our fans be made ecstatic
By a victory dramatic they can savor ever more?
Will our gallant lads deserving be the champions, I implore?”
Quothe the Redbird, “Hope some more.”

Can’t recall the final stanza either except that it included “And this Redbird, never flitting, on my desktop still is sitting/Perched upon a stack of pages filled with fresh athletic lore…” and the final line is “Hope some more, they may soar!”


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