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Poem: "Quarterboard" - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Quarterboard"

This poem came out of the December 4, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from siliconshaman and kelkyag.  It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  This poem belongs to the series Path of the Paladins; you can find the other poems in that by visiting the Serial Poetry page.


Quarterboard


It's a game meant for four players,
but there are only three of them --
Gailah and Barzay and Talaton --
because few want to play with
a deposed goddess.

The pieces are jewels that shine like stars
in a quartet of colors scattered about,
which is Gailah's work;
the board is wrought of malleable metal
that bends a bit beneath the pieces,
which is Barzay's work;
the base is raised into a narrow tower
with a point to balance the board atop it,
which is Talaton's work;
and the rules --

The rules.
They do not mention the rules
or the one who made them,
although the play remains the same
and they miss  him.

It is so much harder
to play quarterboard this way,
with only three players.

For the fourth side, they must either
share the pieces and the plays,
which makes a mess of the strategy;
or they must leave out those pieces entirely,
which makes whole categories of move impossible.

The goal is to reach
the gilded pin in the center.
When they were little ones
playing at the hem of their parents' robes,
they could do this three times out of four.

Now, two times out of five,
the board tilts wildly off balance,
pouring the pieces onto the polished floor

and everyone loses.

Gailah sighs
and heaves herself up
to hunt for the lost pieces
that have rolled under Talaton's altar.

Perhaps in time
their fourth will return to them,
or they will find a replacement for him
although for her the thought of that
hurts more than her history.

Barzay gives her a soft cluck of encouragement
as if trying to settle a restless horse,
and begins to place the pieces
back on the board.

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11 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: December 8th, 2012 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)
The boy adherent who died might like to get his master a game set and a third player....
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2012 02:56 am (UTC) (Link)

Poem

And that turned straight into the free-verse poem "Half of Four." Gorrein is sulking in his temple, the drummer tries to cheer him up, they wind up talking about the game ... and even more unhappy history comes to light. Ouchie. But it lightens up toward the end.

78 lines, Buy It Now = $39
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: December 8th, 2012 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)
These gods have parents, do they? Interesting.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2012 05:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Most pantheons have a familial structure. Look at Norse or Greek ones for examples.
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: December 10th, 2012 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think it'd come up in the series yet. Not every pantheon is structured that way, though apparently it's common.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 10th, 2012 04:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Hmm...

You may be right, I don't remember it coming up in this series before.
siege From: siege Date: December 8th, 2012 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you look at the Egyptian pantheons (yes, plural!), they have what appears to be a continuous line of descendance, from simplistic sky and earth gods/totems, all the way to the complex politics of an active, citified society with gods and major spirits for all the important things.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2012 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Kind of like the way kids grow up and get fancier jobs than their parents had.
From: technoshaman Date: December 9th, 2012 05:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poignant.... know the loss feeling. I believe you said the right word was "appreciate"?

Oooh... another good word: Catharsis. In that, you have done well.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 9th, 2012 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>Poignant.... know the loss feeling. I believe you said the right word was "appreciate"?<<

Yes.

>>Oooh... another good word: Catharsis. In that, you have done well.<<

Hadn't thought of that, but yes, this is probably my strongest series for that too.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 13th, 2018 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
A form of remembrance, I guess.

-not
11 comments or Leave a comment