29 September 2013

The Only Game

One's actions are prompted not by theories of pessimism or optimism, but by the will to play the game with the cards in hand--a banal figure, alas.  Some of us play on though Nature, Destiny or Whatyoumaycallem hold all the aces and trumps and we hold nothing but ignominious nines or "dieces."  I refer to pinochle, rather than poker, because I was brought up on the German, not on the American game.  What has this to do with our poetry?  Merely this: a "diece" may become the ace of trumps before the cards are laid away.  There is no challenge behind the present diece, nor an air of prognostication in studying its prospects.  If the diece remains a nine and is ultimately taken, not by an ace or trump, but by an almost as ignominious jack, one has had the privilege of participating in the sole game known to mankind.

Arthur Kreymborg, Our Singing Strength, "T.S. Eliot and The Wasteland"

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