The Chess Variant Pages



Chess Morality VIII: The Pleiades


'Tis not a game that plays at mates and mating;
'Tis not a game of barter, land and houses
We have gone forth beyond your bonds and borders,
'Tis not of 'days and nights' unearthly fashion;
There is the subtler music, the clear light
We are not shut from all the thousand heavens...
--Ezra Pound, 'The Flame'

Chanting the square deific, out of the One advancing, out of the sides,
Out of the old and new, out of the square entirely divine...
--Walt Whitman, 'Chanting the Square Deific'

Electra(F):  We seven sisters of Artemis' train,
Goddess of abstract games and all Nature--
Our constellation widens that domain
Of Earthly reach, enshrining your stature,
Just as the pole star aligns the wagon's hitch
And wily Falcon wings unto its pitch.

Merope(P):   No Pawn in Orion's game, this starry
Role shedding the mortal coil like a mirage--
Our temporal presence beholds sorry
Souls degrading life -- our afterimage
Dual-natured, doubled, second selves the same:
My doppelganger roves wherefrom we came.

Sterophe(N): Swift-winged Pegasus, the Archer's moon-hooved
Steed, the very picture of a rover,
Whose mountaintops and sacred groves soon proved
A certain hideaway, refuge and cover,
A ground neither to be sacked by the Goths
Nor laid to rest under burial cloths.

Maia(B):     Bishop, Tower, Horse and Falcon arise
Whole cloth from air and water, earth and fire,
Chanting the One worthy to realize
The end to which all reflections aspire:
Four basic moves steeped in myth, deep as math
Emerge from the square on the Chessic path.

Taygete(K): No deus ex machina under 'vaults
Of light' proves, of all things, Chess is the First Cause.
Yet even Zeus hurling those thunderbolts
Would grasp that, more and more prone to forced draws
Is the longtime six-piece game; and wait for the start
Of the Chess which reflects the state of the art.

Alcyone(Q): The game as played in forests, dales and streams
The checkered board deriving from the net,
Queen Artemis conceived the Sport in dreams
Each artifact essential to the set,
The Falcon hiding out in pinnacles
As augured by the cultic oracles.

Calaeno(R): The septet's footsteps and the square deific,
A combination riding on the knife-
Edge of precision, and scientific
As an abstracted recipe for life:
Code four base-pairs becoiled and sublimate
Cook slowly for a billion years and wait.

George William Duke  2002      


Written by George William Duke.
WWW page created: June 6, 2002.