Kenneth Slessor

(27 March 1901 – 30 June 1971 / Orange, New South Wales)

Chessmen - Poem by Kenneth Slessor

CHAFING on flags of ebony and pearl,
My paladins are waiting. Loops of smoke
Stoop slowly from the coffee-cups, and curl
In thin fantastic patterns down the room
By cabinets of chinaware, to whirl
With milky-blue tobacco-steam, and fume
Together past our pipes, outside the door.
Soon may we lounge in silence, O my friend,
Behind those carven men-at-arms of chess
Dyed coral-red with dragon's blood, and spend
The night with noiseless warfare. Queens and rooks
With chiselled ivory warriors must contend
And counter-plots from old Arabian books
Be conjured to the march of knights and pawns.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 1, 2010



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