Pawns and Pieces

An advantage based on pawn position
is a thing of relative permanence;
such are the infinitesimal, million,
petty contacts in parlors and kitchens,
daily arguments but without offence,
that consolidate the loved relation;

but based on the structure of the pieces,
since the pieces move from place to place,
relatively vain and ostentatious,
fickle, deceptive, gone without a trace—
the obsession with intellect or face,
the great encounters, the intensities.

Questions and Answers

What inspired “Pawns and Pieces”?

A feeling, during a rather difficult time, of the major importance of minor things—for example, what keeps a marriage together. Not the great declarations, the inspiring moments, but—one washes the dishes, the other dries them.

What poetic techniques did you use in “Pawns and Pieces”?

A six-line stanza, consisting of an intitial A/B quatrain whose half-rhyme sequence reverses in the concluding couplet, as if to show that the opposite of what we sentimentally tend to feel may often be the case.

Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.