The Ted Williams Villanelle

THE TED WILLIAMS VILLANELLE

“Don’t let anybody mess with your swing.”
- Ted Williams, baseball player

Watch the ball and do your thing.
This is the moment. Here’s your chance.
Don’t let anybody mess with your swing.

It’s time to shine. You’re in the ring.
Step forward, adopt a winning stance,
Watch the ball and do your thing,

And while that ball is taking wing,
Run, without a backward glance,
Don’t let anybody mess with your swing.

Don’t let envious bastards bring
You down. Ignore the sneers, the can’ts.
Watch the ball and do your thing.

Sing out, if you want to sing.
Jump up, when you long to dance.
Don’t let anybody mess with your swing.

Enjoy your talents. Have your fling.
The seasons change. The years advance.
Watch the ball and do your thing,
And don’t let anybody mess with your swing.


- Wendy Cope (b. 1945)
(for Ari Badaines)