Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mind Games

2713 miles away
You’ve played e4
And in the same instant
I watch it on screen,
My stomach churning
The same way it did
21 years ago,
When you showed me
How you saved a lost game
With a double rook sacrifice.

You’d played
in the next room then
And I could not watch,
Just sat there trying
To fill my mind
With any old nonsense,
Waiting for your face
To appear at the glass.

There was a time,
Before you learnt
To take the piss,
When I could always tell
The result before you spoke.
You just couldn’t stop
Beaming, but now
That I can follow you
Move by move,
I still can’t fathom
What’s going on.

Richard is playing for Wales in the Chess Olympiad in Khanty Mansisk.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Pope's Rhino

"Since God has given us the Papacy, let us enjoy it." Leo X

Blue-eyed, blonde haired
choirboys gather
trembling beneath
Benedict’s golden banner.
Little girls squeal
to see such fun
as the priests feel
their way in a daze
through the faithful,
hearts overflowing with praise.

Today I heard the story how
From Gujerat to Portugal,
Ganda the rhino
survived three months at sea,
being gifted by the great Sultan,
then toyed with by a bored king
until he turned his horned back
on mortal combat
with the monarch’s pet jumbo.
So, clad in green velvet,
garlanded with flowers,
shackled to the deck,
amidst silver plate
and aromatic spices,
intended as a gift for Leo X,
he took to sea for the last time.

The Pope has an elephant in the room.
It goes by the name of Hando.
All that he lacks now
Is an armour-plated rhino.
This omission in the Great Plan
Will never, never, never do, oh no!

A divine wind
whipped up a storm
before La Spezia
and though Ganda could swim
the chains round his feet
ensured no salvation for him.
Then came the bad news they could not staunch -
Rotting carcass recovered on the beach near Villefranche.

Now the Church is in crisis
The warning bell rings
Too many have heard
What the chorister sings
There’s something amiss
In the great scheme of things.

Meanwhile, while you are waiting I am sure you would appreciate a good dose of aggressive secularism!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


The poem's written, but you're going to have to wait, because it's going off to a competition. This is where it will appear once the deadline has passed. The clue to the subject is in the picture. Nothing like suspense is there?