The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Thursday and Lewis Ginter Butterflies

The Game of Chess
By Jorge Luis Borges
Translated by Kurt Heinzelman


Seated in their serious corners, the players
Align the slow pieces. The board
Holds them until dawn in its severe
Enclosure, two colours hating each other.

The game magically enforces discipline
Upon its forms: Homeric castle, light-
Footed knight, warring queen, the king
In the rear, his bishop at a slant, pawns advancing.

When the players have gone away,
When time at last consumes them,
The ritual is certainly not over.

It was the Orient that sparked this war
And now the whole earth is its theatre.
As with that other game, this one is forever.


Frail king, slippery bishop, bloody-minded
Queen, single-minded rook, smooth-tongued
Pawn, both the black and the white, seek the path
That finds the other out, armed to the teeth.

What they do not know is that the pointing
Hand of the player is governor of destiny.
Nor do they know what adamantine ways
Bind their will and shape their journey.

The player, however, is also a prisoner
(The saying of Omar’s) of yet another
Checkerboard of nights and days.

God moves the player as he the pieces
But what god behind God plots the advent
Of dust and time and dreams and agonies?


It was even warmer on Wednesday than on Tuesday, though it rained the entire day, quite hard at times. I took Maddy to a couple of appointments (one of which was a big disappointment, as she can't dye her hair the way she wanted for a week, though she got a wig to hide her illicit pink roots at work). In between, I watched the Voyager episode I'm reviewing this week, did a stack of laundry consisting pretty much entirely of towels that had vanished into someone's room, and had a huge fight with my computer which decided that I wasn't allowed to connect to the internet for half an hour.

While Maddy was at work, Paul and I went to BGR for the last night of our free burger coupon, where I ate too much excellent veggie burger with spicy cheese -- and on the way home I caught a Ditto pretending to be a Pidgey, w00t! We watched the Arrow crossover episode, though it was too much Arrow and too little everyone else for my taste, then we caught up on Agents of SHIELD, which is actually good this season, and Designated Survivor, which is getting too preachy and hyperbolic for me. Butterflies from the exhibit in the conservatory at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden last summer:


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