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.