Chess (a poem by Marin Sorescu)

[This is a poem originally written in Romanian by a Mark Twain-like character called Marin Sorescu; I enjoy the challenge of rendering Romanian poetry into English and I’ve noticed it’s appreciated, so here we go again]

I move a white day,
He moves a black day.

I put forward a dream,
He captures it in battle.

He attacks my lungs,
I consider it for a year in hospital,
I pull a magnificent combination
And I win a black day from him.

He moves a curse
And threatens me with cancer
(which is currently advancing in the shape of a cross),
However, I counteract with a book
And I force him to pull back.

I win several more pieces from him
But, look! Half of my life
Has been cleared out to the edge.

– I will check you and you will lose your optimism,
He tells me.

– It’s okay, I jest easily,
I will castle my feelings.

Behind me the wife, the kids,
The sun, the moon and other onlookers
Shiver with every move I make.

I light a cigarette
And I keep on playing.

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