Kings and Pawns

“We’re all Kings and Pawns,”
Napoleon Bonaparte once said,
“We’re all Emperors.”
“We’re all Fools.”

Funny he should say that.
We, like two Kingdoms, square up.
Blacks against Whites.
Decisions. Decisions.

What’s in your hand, sir?

King Pawn to King Four.
Small beginning steps we take
Believing we’re each of us
The only star in our own movie.

But Knight to Queen’s Bishop Three.
Counter moves from counter selves
We sabotage our own efforts
And wonder what’s afoot.

We’re all Kings and Pawns
Though each man in his own heart
Thinks himself different from all.
Superior to all the human-ness.

What’s in your hand, ma’am?

When Bishop takes Bishop,
And we face our true desires
We all deny our deepest truths
For Ego’s sake, for Pride’s joy.

What miserable life we lead
As we approach our end-games
This chessboard cleared of all
And the space evident in all things?

Queen to King’s Rook Three.
Discover Check. And trouble finds us.
Run we may, but hide we can’t.
Now matter where we turn to.

What is this you have in your hand,
Oh fallen man – son of Eve?
What is this you carry in your heart
Oh, daughter of the damned?

If King takes Knight Pawn,
I hope never again will it be said
That we sought for what we knew not
And that all man listened to his own heart.

We’re all Kings and Pawns,
A man once said to the world.
And he – that brilliant devil – he was right.
We’re all – all of us – Emperors. Fools.

Ask not what Mgbeke plans for dinner.
Wonder not when Mgbafo will get married.
What’s in your hand, people of God?
Mind your own business.

Nonso John
(C) 2021

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