“Poetry is like chess” the old man said to me.
He was sitting in the corner of a diner
looking vacantly through the window
at the sunlit city street.
“Not only in the sense” he continued quietly
“of the length of time you need to think.
But also there's an instinct -
the right move or the right word
can arise it seems from nowhere
and inspiration is all around.
For example, I am no past Grand Master
so why do I talk of chess?”
He looked downwards at the floor
where the black legs of the diner chairs
stood quietly on black and white tiled squares.
“Perhaps we are but pawns” he said
“but that is just the starting point
for another poem another day.”
He nodded briefly at me
then turned his gaze back to the street.
Previously published as part of the Ekphrastic Challenge in response to the painting The Poet, by Lily Prigioniero (Italy, b. USA) 2021