Friday, April 17, 2009

Chess by Rosario Castellanos


Because we were friends and sometimes loved each other,
perhaps to add one more tie
to the many that already bound us,
we decided to play games of the mind.

We set up a board between us:
equally divided into pieces, values,
and possible moves.
We learned the rules, we swore to respect them,
and the match began.

We've been sitting here for centuries, meditating
how to deal the one last blow that will finally
annihilate the other one forever.

Rosario Castellanos
(25 May 1925 – 7 August 1974)
Mexican poet and author

While on one of many trips to Mississippi last year, my father was helping care for his mother-in-law, a retired teacher, and entertained himself by browsing her bookshelves. He found the above poem in an old textbook, thought I'd like it, and called me up so he could read it over the phone. We talked about the poem and about the themes it brought up, and it was a pretty good conversation, considering that we aren't always on pleasant terms with one another.

Which, in a way, falls right in line with the poem.

UPDATE (January 2014)
FYI, as of this date, the above post has received well over 5k views.
For further commentary / discussion of this poem, visit Chess on the new Adventures in Fiction blog

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