Sunday, February 21, 2010

Backgammon in the Park


With case underarm
Jerzy seeks the perfect
Shaded table for
Battle with Lef.

On cue, the women
Depart, arm-in-arm
To more populous spaces
This sunlit afternoon.

Down the pathway
June garden colours,
Splashed and swaying,
Beckon to a gathering.

But men, board-side
Under the old oak.
Sandals kicked off,
Elbows on the table.

Begin the siege.
Dice-cup clattering,
Fate spilled repeatedly.
Checkers moving in league.

Do they see it?
Hear it, now?
The glory, I mean
Of this Saturday.

Laughing children
Dining at picnic blanket.
Lovers striding,
Wordless, in unison.

Brazen ducks waddling
To the combat zone.
Seed-pecking perilously
Close to bare feet.

The generals persist
Oblivious to onlookers,
Scrutinizing spiked field-of-play,
And not each other.

Yards away, smiling
Lab chases frizbee.
Crimson cardinal flits
From pond-side brush.

Occasionally, throats cleared,
Bravado, hands clapped,
Table-top tapped.
All telling strategies.

This time Lef conquers,
Shouting briefly, boyishly.
Landing playful jab to
Shoulder of the gracious foe.

Twenty summers.
Two couples.
Fellow-travelers.
Friends.

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