A GAME OF CHESS (TO JOHN BRODIE)

By Gwen Harwood

A-game-of-chessNightfall: the town’s chromatic nocturne wakes 

dark brilliance on the river; colours drift 

and tremble as enormous shadows lift 

Orion to his place. The heart remakes 

that peace torn in the blaze of day. Inside 

your room are music, warmth and wine, the board 

with chessmen set for play. The harpsichord 

begins a fugue; delight is multiplied. 

A game: the heart’s impossible ideal– 

to choose among a host of paths, and know 

that if the kingdom crumbles one can yield 

and have the choice again. Abstract and real 

joined in their trance of thought, two players show 

the calm of gods above a troubled field.

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