The Day Chess Stopped

Posted: September 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

When the diagnosis came, many things stopped
for practical reasons, mostly
There wasn’t time, or it didn’t matter that much
or I would pick it up later, like a penny that fell out of my pocket
Chess went on vacation, the pieces untouched
sitting lonely on the board, frozen in time

But it was not because of energy or time
recreation postponed until another day
Chess stopped because the part me that
plots and schemes, corners the opponent
calculates board position and works ahead
anticipates and projects and corners
just lost interest.

Unlike other pleasantries, the strings strummed
whistle piped or bike ridden
chess went on a much longer sabbatical

Because I felt so guilty, having abandoned the game
I tried it again the other day

The pieces weighed a thousand pounds each
and I could hardly move them square to square
It is not because I need medication quick
or can’t move other things in my life
because I can.

No, it is this, this game, these pieces
what they require of brain and spirit.
And I wonder if the part of me that must be a certain way
to be good at chess
is at cross purposes
with being different in the rest of my life

Our plans and scheming have their limits
severe ones, those illusions of control
and the part of me that knows this more
laughs at chess like the gods laugh at grasshoppers
The game has suddenly become so small
that I don’t have interest in finding it
under the microscope
the board a postage stamp, silicone chip
a little cell of a checker box
that floats on an immense sea of mystery.

Spending time figuring out my mind in this way
seems so beside the point, even as an amusement
a distraction, the little conquest for the tabletop
I haven’t found much room left for that
even in a game.

The myth of kings and queens, rooks and bishops,
lowly pawns in their courses
has been broken
and the game of true intellectuals
isn’t so smart

  1. C.Crawford says:

    Once again, so appropriate in my life. I came to the same realization after your sermon this Sunday. Thank you so much for the timeliness of the message.

    Have a great week!

  2. Jane says:

    Poignantly lovely…there is a time for detached, logical thinking…

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