Chess Morality XIX: Shadow-Chess
There's an Irishman, Arthur O'Shaughnessy--
On the chessboard of poets a Pawn is he;
Though a Bishop or King Would be rather the thing
To the fancy of Arthur O'Shaughnessy. --Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The thumb, in Chiromancy, we give to Venus, the fore-finger to Jove, the midst to Saturn, the ring to Sol, the least to Mercury.
--Ben Jonson, 'The Alchemist' 1610
Im Gebirge ist der naechste Weg von Gipfel zu Gipfel: aber dazu musst du lange Beine haben. Mein Mundwerk-- ist des Volks; Meine Hand-- ist eine Narrenhand. Mein Fuss-- ist ein Pferdefuss; Mein Magen-- ist wohl eines Adlers Magen? --Friedrich Nietzsche, 'Also Sprach Zarathustra'
The Sun, with all the planets revolving around it and depending on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as though it had nothing else in the universe to do. --Galileo
The naturalists say they are generated in the sky by fulgurous exhalation, conglobed in a Cloud by the circumfused humour. --Tollius 1649
Into this house we're born Into this world we're thrown Like a dog without a bone An actor out on loan. --The Doors, 'Riders on the Storm' 1971
Suppose thou hast my Chariot? What wouldst thou do? Canst thou confront the spinning poles and not be swept away by the swift axes of the Worlds? Perhaps you hope for cities of the gods and groves and temples rich with offerings. Nay! Every sign of the Zodiac stokes the skies/ Through which a million risks your voyage lies. --Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book II 1st Century
Mercury the Bishop, Venus the Queen
Mars Knight, Saturn Rook, Jupiter the King--
Caissa's seeming moments like as orbits seen,
The playing field on Earth, each trailing ring
About Sol shapes sun-Falcon's hidden paths,
Bodies streaming equal timed and spaced swaths.
Sol(F): Five planets and two luminosities
Cast set of seven past shadow of a doubt.
Those pairings more than curiosities
Spell down what our work's really all about.
Seven pieces, metals, Wonders, days of week
Seven Pleiades, birds, animals bespeak.
Luna(P): This nineteenth poem observes the command
Of a Lunar event one identifies
By nineteen-year cycle. Even now at hand
The Major Lunar Standstill in Earth's skies!
More moment than shadow of an eclipse
Our paths retraced in ancient megaliths.
Mars(N): Through dread arena of mental events
Grim shadow actors replay "Auld lines' loss."
Shades of the dead, the long-Drawn-out descents,
Full seven gates of nested loops must cross.
Neither Wrestling, Race nor archery can save
Chess woodpushers from sure computer grave.
Mercury(B): With none of trappings that a riddle hath:
Man's height equals seven times length of his foot.
Measure hand's shadow from its middle path
By fingers of another hand well-put.
Count up the length Sundial's shadow endures
To tell what time it is, and we know yours.
Jupiter(K): Chessboard squares 'e1' all act like portal
(Though teleport's more often rough than smooth)
Passing through which objects turn immortal.
From out the shadows comes the gospel truth
Availed most often by the priceless King
Who takes no umbrage that 'the play's the thing.'
Venus(Q): Suppose Queen takes up gauntlet of a King,
Apollo's without lyre, Quixote lance.
What time is it when shadow of a thing
Is equal to the thing itself by chance?
Let's pray that ethos dies 'In Gold they trust'
And scatter to high heaven their Fool's dust.
Saturn(R): As my usual venue's tenebrous,
The forlorn dark-age chess shadows lengthen.
As sphere's volume goes by cubed radius,
Mighty captive-piece ghost armies strengthen--
Their marching orders to betake a sign
Of what would more than approach the divine.
--George William Duke 2006
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Author: George William Duke.
Web page created: 2006-12-27. Web page last updated: 2006-12-27