“All I want to do, ever, is play chess,” Bobby Fischer
The ocean ever lapping just beneath my feet
Is too unnoticed at present time,
For my concentration on this game must be held:
I focus my attack in and forge the winning path for my fleet.
My unworried countenance reflects the, ironic,
Exaltation I feel in the form of brutal chess calculation.
Alone, I play against myself-
Instantaneously occupying both sides of the chess board-
And I forget the ostracized nature of this isle.
Perched upon the wooden board there rests
valiant soldiers, ever ready to ascertain victory.
The most graceful of wars progresses and the incremental
adjustment of pieces slowly forms synchronized maneuvers.
With a slight lift of my fingers, I slide the queen to a predestined square.
Here she stands stalwart and threatening.
Such moves of power and beauty communicate flourishes of masterpiece.
The war struggles on and I sit,
perpetually focused on the confined board,
Unaware of time and unaware of the world
As if I had drank from Lethe’s waves
And the toils of life floated away.
The conclusion of the game is in sight,
and a paltry pawn is pushed forward,
So eager is this pawn as it nears promotion.
Its potential can finally be realized.
It becomes the deciding blow its enemy
And victory is claimed in triumphant elation.
On my little isle, I float in a dreamland of Kings and Queens,
With the water continually lapping at my feet.
A note to the reader: Without some background knowledge of chess and its jargon, some of this poem might come as harder to understand. Provided below is a slight explanation of chess terms used.
(6)Calculation: the consideration of various moves that a chess player does in his/her head. It is a brutal, but rewarding aspect of chess because one gets to see his/her plans come to fruition.
(7)”Play against myself:” Since the prompt has me alone on an island, the only way to play chess is against myself. One tries to make the best possible moves for both sides of the board.
(14)Queen: This chess piece is the most powerful of them all
(20)Lethe:This has nothing to do with chess, but is a greek mythological allusion. It is a river of forgetfulness.
(23)Pawn: This chess piece is the weakest and is often not valued until the end of a chess game
(24)Promotion:The pawn becomes more valuable precisely because of promotion. By getting one’s pawn all the way to the other side of the board, the pawn can transform into another piece (most often a Queen).