Mate in One
Lay out your pieces, comrade:
With the tzar in the centre, his back to the wall –
Now just a figurehead, limping-scared, out-weighed
By his regent tzarina, striding bully-tall.
Propped-up by the church, with its zigging-zagging raid,
And crooked-jumping noblemen heralding the call,
As barons in their fortresses sidle and invade –
Headlong-forward charging through this no-man’s-land-in-brawl.
But there in the frontline are the workers all arrayed –
Surging from their trenches, then trudging through the sprawl.
Their only hope, to reach the end and give themselves in trade,
And not be tossed as sacrifice to spare the tzar his fall.
Enough ! Let them strike at those behind of them who stayed
Cowering astern as the fodder feeds the maul.
For even such a lowly piece can put the tzar to blade
Game over, comrade. We both win, after all.