Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Tuesday Poem: The Poker Players

The Poker Players

A cold wind has passed
down the street on horseback,
shooting up the town,
lashing his whip.
The poker players have made
their declaration: “I’m out”
and flung down their hands
of various golden suits.
Leaves lie in drifts - the spade-like poplars,
lobed maples, and willow
pointed like diamonds.
The players stand about the saloon
grey and gaunt,
against a background of imperturbable green.
Kowhai, manuka, ake ake;
the natives are still in the game.
They are keeping their cards close to their chests.

- Catherine Fitchett


It seemed a good time to post something seasonal. This is also fitting because I have been playing cards a lot over the past year - bridge, not poker. New Zealand native plants - of which three are named in the poem - are mostly evergreen (not just the conifers), as opposed to the imported English varieties common in Christchurch, such as willows, oaks, chestnuts and poplars. "The Poker Players" was first published in the Christchurch Press and also appears in Flap: The Chookbook 2.


Helen Lowe said...

Always a favourite of mine, Catherine, since I first heard it at the MCB Autumn Readings--will miss the MCB venue as well as the 'autumn' readings with the switch to spring.

leonie said...

Trees as poker players really gives this poem a fabulous personality.

I am missing the natives right now, and all the birds that love them - we had tui and grey warblers regularly visit our place in Wellington and I miss waking up to the birdsong (all we get in our London flat is pigeons - not the same!)

Gerry Snape said...

I had to read this a few times to get what you meant....but it really makes you want to read it out loud. Great post . Thankyou

Michelle Elvy said...

Great turn of season poem. I like the way it begins so sharp and ends with such a clear quiet gesture.

Helen McKinlay said...

How wonderfully imaginative of you to mix trees and poker players.
and you have done it so naturally.
great little poem.:-)