The Move

I had never even heard of a Sestina until after I started trying to write different structures of poetry. The poem is about one of my favorite games. Baduk (also known as go) I am normally not a fan of poems that have no rhyming structure, but this was fun to write.

The Move

Two players sit at a table opposing
A board filled with black and white stones
Each player is still, doesn’t even move
All of the action takes place in the mind
Thinking rapidly how to avoid disaster
They both desire decisive victory

Black sees a chance at victory
A way to cause white’s certain disaster
Feeling now of the superior mind
In his hand he rolls black stones
No hope for the player he is opposing
He slams down his piece making his move

White neglected to consider that move
The variation never crossed her mind
Threatened, white might cease opposing
If black successfully snatches victory
The position looks dreadful for her stones
If only she could dodge this disaster

White plays elsewhere ignoring the disaster
Trying elsewhere to continue opposing
Black is intoxicated by this victory
His carelessness shown in his moves
Causing an idea to be born in white’s mind
She hatches a plan to fight with her dead stones

Striking the table is a single white stone
White appears proud after making this move
Threatening to reverse white’s disaster
Black fears he made a mistake opposing
He desperately defends his slipping victory
Countless variations pour through Black’s mind

An epic struggle takes place in the mind
Of each player as they reach for victory
Clenched in each hands are their respective stones
Against one of them will be brought disaster
It all comes down to this final move
To see who was the strongest opposing

Black dropped his stones, not another move was made
Against him fell disaster, sweeping away his victory
He lost the battle in the minds, and no longer is he opposing


© Ryan Mathisen


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