Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Poker Poesy

So this is it. I'm off work until Monday and will be writing madly until then. Until I resurface, I offer my favorite poker poem. There are others more directly about poker, but this is a simply great poem. Enjoy.
If my editor is reading, this is the poem I would like to reprint in the book.

The Woman with Five Hearts by Stephen Dunn

The woman with five hearts knew what she had,
knew what we lacked. She bet high and then
higher; it was what any of us would have done.
A woman with five hearts,
we concluded, was a dangerous thing.
She did now think it romantic, what she had.
She knew it was better
than two pair, better than anything straight.
She was sure I, for example, had weakness,
three of something at best.
The man to my right
clearly resented the woman with five hearts.
He touched her arm, as if this were a different game.
He tried to be ironic, but instead was mean.
The woman with five hearts saw him
as a man with clubs, one fewer than he needed.
A man without enough clubs can be a pathetic thing.
Each of her bets demanded that he come clean.
It was simple prudence
to yield to such a woman, a woman with all that.
The rest of us did, understanding so many hearts
could not be beaten, not with what we had.
But the man to my right decided to bluff.
He raised her with what seemed
his entire body, everything he had been and was.
The woman with five hearts raised back,
amused now, as if aware of an old act--
a man with nothing puffing himself up.
He stayed because by now it had all gone
too far, a woman with five hearts and a man
without enough clubs.
And when she showed him all five, beautifully red,
he had to admit that was exactly what she had.


Blogger Ignatious said...

excellent choice. i fool around with poker hiaku's here and there.

3:12 PM  

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