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War Chess
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War Chess
An allegorical look at the Civil War, espcially Lee and Grant.
[548 words]
Mason Cole
Mason Cole is an Oklahoma author, 17 years of age. He attends the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics in Oklahoma City. Mason's favorite authors are Ayn Rand, William Shakespeare, Homer, and Orson Scott Card. His dream is to recieve a Ph.D. in History and then teach, writing novels and short stories on the side.
[October 2000]
[email protected]
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War Chess
Mason Cole

The gaming hall was large and round, divided into two,
Confederates decked out in gray, and Union men in blue.
The Feds ignored the Rebels, and the Feds the Rebels ignored,
And right between the two great sides there stood a strange chessboard.
'Twas square, with squares of white and black; the pieces were the same,
But similarities stopped there: much more lay on the game,
Some squares were hid--lay elevate--some sat upon a shore,
The pieces were not equal, and the game's own name was War.
A tournament was way past due, when one blue-wearing man
Peeled off his coat, revealing gray, and sat down once again.
"My name," he said, "is Robert Lee, and I would like a turn."
The gray ones called him hero, while the blue felt promptly spurned.
A late arrival, U.S. Grant, found one spot left to play;
He donned the garment Lee had dropped, and so began the day.
A bluecoat sat crosswise from Lee; McClellan was his name.
They quickly set the pieces down and moved to start the game.
While combat ranged on other boards, this quick affair was done;
Lee flanked and beat McClellan once, and ever after won.
Though Little Mac moved pieces well, his strategy was flawed.
He could not beat the feisty Reb, and salvaged but one draw.
Meanwhile, across the room, Ulysses Grant was doing well;
He'd just achieved a double mate, putting the Rebs through ****.
Pope and Rosecrans were up next; Lee beat both in a drive,
Then Ambrose Burnside number four, Joe Hooker victim five.
Flashing to another game, Grant was losing bad.
Johnston had him pinned down, and it looked like he'd been had.
There was no doubt that Grant would lose; a charge stopped the dispatch,
As Grant swept his foe off the board and won another match.
Moving to a harder seat, he rounded up his men,
And having trapped a fort inside, sat down to wait again.
Lee finally found a master, Meade, 'twas worthy of his steel;
Meade fought off every seeming threat, and simply wouldn't keel.
Lee threw away his tactics then, and charged the ivory king.
But Meade repulsed the grim assault, and Lee's defeat did sting.
While bitter tears were shed by Rebs, the Fed'rals jumped for joy:
The fort had finally broken; Grant had smashed it like a toy!
The matches reached their final round, and both were pressed to win
When Grant sat down across from Lee and let the game begin.
By now, across the room, 'twas clear the tide had gone astray,
For every move and mate now seemed to go the Union way.
The heated matches heralded the death of several men:
Jackson, Stuart, Reynolds, Banks would never rise again.
Yet while his team was losing fast and hope was almost gone,
Grim and determined as he was, old Bobby Lee fought on.
And now the winners of the day, to find out who was best,
Would stake it on one final game--the masters of War Chess.
Grant kept battling hard with Lee, who never gained the edge;
No, bishop and knight and rook pressed on, resembling a pearl-coat sledge.
The games were done, but for this one, and now all gathered round,
To see who'd be the first to fold and give the final ground.
At last Ulysses cornered Lee and, sealing Robert's fate,
Made the final move and put the sable king in mate.
As Grant was lifted to the sky, and his name praised by all,
Old Robert Lee walked silently out of the large round hall.



"Did the devil go down to Georgia, Mr. Cole? Work on the title and you'll have a nice lil ditty." -- Jeffrey Michael Keeling, Norman, OK, USA.


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© 2000 Mason Cole
October 2000

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