Friday, August 5, 2016

Poem of the Day: "Reykjavik Express" by John Reinhart, Frequent Contributor

Reykjavik Express
John Reinhart
a bastard son from a bastard land, moored on foreign shores by fortuitous accident, bent on victory against eastern tigers, salivating over riches yet unimagined in the west…

Alexander, the great westernizer, knew
that no battle need be fought
against the wind – Bobby knew
his terms, his opening salvos
prepared in secret, in delays,
in feints; by dealing first
in smoke, he could stoke the fires,
dip the arrows to weaken the ramparts,
dismantle the walls stone by stone

watched the action
on technicolor TV sets,
on telescopes, on kaleidoscopes
picked up second hand in Yugoslavia
- everyone saw it, the slow motion
train wreck in Reykjavik

Where was Spassky, meant to be the driver?

All signals said go, the fires stoked,
smoke billowing  across tundra, Spassky
left standing on the platform

Poet's Notes:  1972. Iceland. The date and place spell chess to Americans. In the midst of a cold war, two combatants engaged in heated battles over 64 alternate color squares. An upstart from an upstart land challenged the domination of an ancient eastern game by revolutionary comrades. And won. Chess has never been the same, particularly in the United States.

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