Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The Poetry of Chess

Such a thing does exist, and poems about chess have been written by a number of literary figures including Yeats, Pound and Tennyson. However they tend to focus more on the poetry than the chess, which can lead to poems that are both obscure and dry.
To get a really entertaining chess poem, I prefer to study the work of that well know poet 'Anonymous'. Here is The Game of the Pawn and the Queen , written in the early 20th century

They may sing of the bat and the wicket,
Or the racquet and net on the green,
But what are lawn tennis and cricket,
To the game of the Pawn, and the Queen!
The gun is a tyrant and slayer,
The niblick a joy for a few;
Give me chess with a chivalrous player,
And a fig for what others may do!

In summer when perfume of roses
Blows in at the half-open door;
When the volume unwillingly closes,
And talking is voted a bore;
Then oh for some leafy pavilion,
Some bower the hot rays never drench,
With a friend deeply versed in Sicilian,
And the intricate web of the French!

And in winter, when dismal and dreary
The snow flakes fall thick in the street;
When newsboys limp haggard and weary,
And policemen take nips on their beat;
Then whether it thaws or it freezes,
For a nook by a warm-giving flame,
With the boxwood and ebony pieces
And a comrade adept at the game!

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