The Crowd at the Ball Game

by William Carlos Williams

The crowd at the ball game
is moved uniformly
by a spirit of uselessness
which delights them —
all the exciting detail
of the chase
and the escape, the error
the flash of genius —
all to no end save beauty
the eternal –

So in detail they, the crowd,
are beautiful
for this
to be warned against
saluted and defied —
It is alive, venomous
it smiles grimly
its words cut —
The flashy female with
her mother, gets it —
The Jew gets it straight –
it is deadly, terrifying —

It is the Inquisition, the
It is beauty itself
that lives
day by day in them
idly —

This is
the power of their faces
It is summer, it is the solstice
the crowd is
cheering, the crowd is laughing
in detail
permanently, seriously
without thought