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This poem is taken from PN Review 198, Volume 37 Number 4, February - March 2011.

Four Poems John McAuliffe
A Game of Li Bo
'Historically games of displacement are replaced by games of strategy.'

                                                        An Illustrated History of Board Games in China


This is before the disappearance of the figure.
The artist deliberately buys a good mirror,
the work is finished if it appears unmarked by its maker.
In one image, of a game of Li Bo, the dice thrower
holds his opponent's future like a penny in his fist.

And it's too late for the other to ask, which fist.
Reward and punishment are a cosmic force:
shadows fall everywhere from the cold skies,
whole inches of canvas betray no common light source,
each moment a last thought saying its goodbyes.



Of All Places

... limestone later then gneiss and a little quartz,
corbelling later again; the antler-pin points
towards an open central place and an arable,
...


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