Kenneth Slessor

Here you will find the Poem Chessmen of poet Kenneth Slessor


CHAFING on flags of ebony and pearl, 
My paladins are waiting. Loops of smoke 
Stoop slowly from the coffee-cups, and curl 
In thin fantastic patterns down the room 
By cabinets of chinaware, to whirl 
With milky-blue tobacco-steam, and fume 
Together past our pipes, outside the door. 
Soon may we lounge in silence, O my friend, 
Behind those carven men-at-arms of chess 
Dyed coral-red with dragon's blood, and spend 
The night with noiseless warfare. Queens and rooks 
With chiselled ivory warriors must contend 
And counter-plots from old Arabian books 
Be conjured to the march of knights and pawns.