Friends of War (Poetry)

I’ve seen a fair bit of poetry on these forums. And as a writer myself, I find it almost silly that i had never conceived of writing poetry about my favorite game. So, taking a leaf from the book of other poets in this community, I decided to write my own piece.

I decided that over two weeks ago. It has taken me that long, not to write it, but to think about it. I needed to think about the sort of writing that I wanted this to be. And i also recognised that this isn’t the sort of poetry I usually write. I usually dabble in depressing writing, or more philosophical musing in my poetry, or just plainly, putting my feelings into words as a means of helping me deal with my mental health problems.

This however, far from being the challenge I thought it was going to be, was an absolute delight to write. I tried to put in as many of my own feelings and thoughts of the game, and how it feels to play as I could. While also trying to imagine what it would be like to be a professional player. A hard enough task considering im a lowly kyu player.

Anyways, I hope you all enjoy, and I hope this one can be added to the groups growing, and staggeringly beautiful works of writing.

(Also sorry its so long, i may have gotten carried away with it. Its actually the longest one I have ever written.)

Friends of war.

Today I fight.
Today I test my arms against that of my opponent.
His cunning against my own, his mind verses mine.
His ideas, his logic, his will and his might.
My power, perception, wit and foresight,
They will all clash, and one will be the victor.

I sit.
Waiting is always the hardest.
I sit, and wait.
I notice the hardness of the floor.
The slight chill in the air as it moves with my breath.
I see the board before me.
The grid, the lines, my field of war.

I look up.
I hear the door sliding open, my heart leaps.
The man I would face, his face impressionless.
The air is moved again, he emanates warmth.

He sits, he adjusts himself.
His cold hard eyes meet mine and my heart leaps.
The chosen one, the arbiter of impending war, sits.
He followed my opponent into the room.
He too leaves no impression.

Here only to watch our struggles, and to record them.
He brings out a notebook.
On it, there is a facsimile of my field of war.
Every death must be recorded.

I wait.
Waiting is always the hardest part.
As I wait I look to my enemy again.
His face like stone continued to look at me.
I nod my head in greeting.
My enemy is my greatest friend.
War is never easy when we must fight friends.

The arbiter nods.
I see this in my peripheral.
Suddenly the sound of cloth moving fills the silent room.
Before, only breathing could be heard.
Before, the breath was unnoticeable.
Now, it seems to join all the other small sounds,
Banding them together untill cocophony is made.

I pick up a closed wooden bowl.
Soon the fight will begin.
I feel the weight of the bowl, and it’s shifting contents.
I hear the stones sliding against each other.
I feel the cool wood in my hands.
And I begin to smell fear.

My heart jumps again.
Each of us, remove the lid from our bowls.
I see perfection in the chaos of black stones.
I pick two, even, the answer to the question.
My enemy digs his hand into his bowl.
I hear the white stones rattling aggressively.
He places his hand, full of stones, on the board.
And I place my answer.

He removes his hand, showing a small mountain.
He counts them out.
My answer was wrong.

I replace the stones in the bowl.
I replace the lid.
And I put the bowl of stones on my side of the grid.
He does the same.
We swap the bowls.

His hand brushes my own gently, accidentally.
I notice, and I immediately pull back.
I smell fear again.

My heart jumped again.
I realise that it is my own fear I perceive.
I take my new bowl, the white stones.
I close my eyes and take a breath in through my nose.

I smell the room.
I smell fear, fresh air, and life from a plant.
I smell the damp soil, the clean clothes.
A million and one scents perfume the air.
I exhale them all, letting go of my fear as I do.
I place the bowl of stones before me on the floor.
I remove it’s lid

I take a moment and gently place my fingers in.
I feel the white stones, smooth, cold, unyielding.
I draw strength from them.
Black does the same.
I hear his digging in the stones.
I hear his breathing now I am calm.
I look up, and see he is looking at out field of war.

He is focused.
I focus also.
I move my gaze and look at the grid.
Nineteen by nineteen lines with nine dots affixed.
The rest of the world fades.
There is only the grid, the war field.

And for a moment I think of the previous wars.
How this board might be subject and witness.
The only one to have death atop it.
I focus on the board.

I calm myself further and focus.
He places a single black stone.
In my corner to my left.
He then touches a clock to his right.
The clock is silent for now.
But it counts down.
This war is on a schedule.

I place my first stone, his corner on the opposite side.
He places another stone.
His framework already taking shape.
I do the same.

After the first four stones are placed,
War begins in earnest.
He makes an approach.
I defend
He risposts
I counter
He invades
I defend
He solidifies
I invade
He risposts
I extend
He attached
I extend
He follows
I jump
He leaps
I enclose
He threatens
I peep
He defends
I defend.

Soon the grid, the field of war, the board is filled.
My heart is racing
The clock is ticking
The stones, unmoving, continue to fight.
It is almost over.

I begin to count the score
I lose count.
I begin counting again.
The game is too close.
My counting’s not good enough.
I cannot discern who is winning.
There are too many variables.
Too many weaknesses in my shape.
I see that I am behind.

I convince myself that I have lost.
I pick up a stone, resigned to finish the game.
As my hand moves above the board I see it.
Before I place my stone, I see victory.
My opponent has made a mistake.
And I made the mistake of not seeing it until now

I move my hand away, no longer resigned to losing.
I move my hand toward victory.
I place my stone.
Then there is silence.

I do not look up, but I know my opponent is reading.
Trying to decipher the riddle I put before him.
But I know it’s already too late.

I hear the gentle movement of clothes again.
I begin to hear the rest of the room.
I begin to feel the moving soft, warm air.
I feel calm wash over me.
And then I tear my eyes from the war grounds.

I look up.
My opponents face, pale.
This time, the fear I smell isn’t my own.
He looks up, and then back down.
He takes a single white prisoner, a stone that he had killed.
A stone that he had removed from play.
And he places it in an impossible position on the board.

Resignation was the only answer.

And I smile at him.
Not because I won.
Not because he lost.
Not because the game was interesting.
Not because it was the best I’ve ever played.

I smile because now I truly know my enemy.
My enemy is wise and strong, and hard headed.
He is brash, aggressive, and subtle.
He is willful, mighty, and kind.

My enemy, is only my enemy as long as we must face each other over this war board and fight.

And I smile at him because we are friends once more.
My heart leaps again.
This time enjoying the hard fought for victory.

Then, I begin to remove the stones from the board, remember the order in which I placed them.
Remembering why I placed them.
Remembering each ones significance.
Realising once more that this is more than a game.

It is my life.
My love.
My devotion.
And my addiction.
The board is cleared.

My friend shakes my hand.
We leave the room talking to each other.
Wondering what others would say of our fight.

We walk away friends once more.


I think you did a great job. Thank you for sharing this with us. It is clear that you put a lot of time and effort into this piece. I enjoyed this very much :wink:.


Thank you very much. It really is very different from my other poetry which makes me happy, sometimes it’s nice to do something a little different from what we are used to doing.

And thank you for reading too.