Game of Chess ca. 1990s

We’ve all played games at some times in our lives. I’m not talking “mind games”. I’m thinking you may have a favorite card game. Or you like to participate in board games. Being poets, we are adept at wordplay and word games. Puzzles (crosswords, anacrostics, sudoka, word search…) are an enjoyable pastime. There are games of chance…Competitive Team Games…Computer games?

Choose any game as the title of your poem and write a poem (that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the game of your choice). Just use your poetic voice and quit playing games.


SCRABBLE (Desperately Seeking Q)

Does Scrabble scramble your brain?
Are you trained to think slowly,
methodically? Maybe you quit
early because there are not quite
enough words you can think of
quickly. Well don’t quake
in your boots, thinking you are not
smart enough to be quizzed
on your vocabulary. Your qi may
not be up to par. Quash those notions
of not being smart enough.
Instead, remember this quote:

“Nobody can make you feel
inferior without your consent”
(Eleanor Roosevelt)

We all have many fine qualities.
If you ask questions,
you will find answers.



When we play our charades,
we think we’re fooling each other.
But, pretending only works if you believe.

Troubled hearts become good
at keeping words to a minimum.
When we play our charades

we get caught in these wordless duels.
Our objections often get overruled and
we think we’re fooling each other.

Our actions do not reveal all that we feel,
and we try to deal with very little relief.
But, pretending only works if you believe.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016


**For some reason, Charades was the game that came to mind (though I’ve never played) and it felt right to write “Charades”as a Cascade poem.


133 thoughts on “PROMPT #184 – GAMES PEOPLE PLAY


    happen to all,
    but it hurts lovers most
    to connect but never to reach
    first base.

  2. Sara and Walt, your starter pieces struck chords with me, for different reasons. Scrabble reminded me of the way I feel when I play with someone who knows all those little words that build up scores. Charades fit the cascade form because the form almost disguises itself while being executed. Both of them remind me of fundamental truths that tend to get forgotten. Wonderful.

    Cat’s Cradle

    I often wish I were more resourceful or coordinated.
    Struggling with a knotty situation
    makes me feel a sense of frustration. I get aggravated,
    and yet, I admit I feel rather pleased with myself
    when I’ve extricated
    myself from certain complications.
    However, I’ve found there can be different solutions, since some are created
    through circumstance or inspiration
    and knowing that fact cannot be overstated or even exaggerated.



    The obsession
    to grab for riches
    when chips are down
    may beyond understanding
    but we do it over
    and over again.


    It’s all in the way
    her eyelashes fall
    over emerald green,
    the slant of her smile.

    He knows.

    She winks,
    thinks nothing
    of scar
    -let swirled halls,
    white sheets;
    dreams of
    peacock feathers,
    plums, and
    lit just right in
    significant ballrooms.

  6. Pingback: Clue | Whimsygizmo's Blog


    Small, slow
    Can’t throw
    Can’t catch
    Always licked
    Never picked
    Name a game
    All the same

    Word play?
    Make way!
    You retort:
    “Not a sport.”
    All the same,
    I’m game!

  8. Hay(na)ku [Word count – 1-2-3 words per line, Stanzas run along telling a story]. Maybe before writing, I should have read more than just the prompt title…..


    games that
    some folk play

    drain away
    parcels of time.

    sucking half
    the day away

    later whisk
    the night aside.

    are verily
    a beguiling frolic

    narrowed by
    an appointed time.

    ahead put
    the computer away

    games to
    vest another day.

  9. Walt – enjoy your use of a Cascade and how you use it here. Good fit.

    Sara – I’m with you at the scrabble board. Well done.

    Like Dominoes

    Behind closed doors
    Secrets are born
    But then, when everybody knows
    The house from which
    Fond dreams are torn
    Falls like dominoes

    Looney Tunes

    When we were kids,
    we were oh so serious
    about playing war.
    We had the leftover helmets
    from the big war, the one
    our fathers lived through,
    the one some of them survived.
    We lived in a poor village, but
    a few of us had Red Ryder BB guns,
    a poor fit for our silly games,
    but more real than the sticks
    the rest of us carried.

    When we were teens,
    some of us in our twenties,
    many of us were still poor, and
    we were still kids,
    even though we thought
    we were men,
    just because we were
    so very far from home.
    A few of us thought
    we were still playing war,
    though most of us knew
    it was a deadly serious sport.

    Now we are old,
    And we know it.
    We also know
    how foolish we were.
    How silly of us
    to think that any of it
    was ever a game.


    Imagine if there were no wars
    and all that money went to scores
    of reasearch solving human ills,
    providing vitimins and pills.
    Or for exploring into space,
    perhaps to save the human race.
    Or to the arts so we might be
    a more advanced humanity.
    Or anything at all but killing.
    We can do it if we’re willing.


    In his Italian accent
    Papa called it “polka,”
    and when he found a deck
    hidden in my dresser
    he’d toss it in the garbage.
    “We don’t need no gamblers here,”
    he’d say. “It’s the devil’s game.
    “Stay away from polka.”

    At weddings Papa danced
    the polka like Astaire.
    He’d have his nieces puffing
    out of breath (Mama didn’t dance)
    then when one polka ended,
    Papa was ready for the next.
    He refused to let
    his nieces sit one out.

    Years later Sharon taught me
    how to shuffle, deal,
    hold and fold my poker hand.
    She showed me how to wear
    the inscrutable poker stare
    unlike the happy beaming face
    Papa wore when he danced the night away.



    I still seek –
    though I know I may not find.
    Finding is rare.

    I still find –
    when I master the art
    of doing without.

    I still hide –
    but not for long and no longer
    from myself.

    I still gain –
    when what I never looked for
    finds me.

    I still win –
    when I go back to home base
    for bliss.

    ~ Nurit Israeli

    Candy Crush

    The colors fall
    Packets blow
    Stripes swipe
    And that color bomb
    What a deal breaker

    Candy hammers
    Bubble eats chocolate
    Teeth bite bad guys
    Hand makes switches
    Checks bring surprises

    Spin the wheel daily
    Five rounds max
    Send lives to friends
    And extra moves, too
    They’ll send them back

    Frustration levels bite
    Hard levels not so bad
    But when that hour glass
    Rears its ugly head
    I tremble in fear

    Candy crush renamed
    Candy crack
    Far too addictive
    The only break I get
    Is waiting for new levels

    © Earl Parsons

  16. Pingback: Puzzled | echoes from the silence

  17. I had fallen behind so I cheated a bit and combined Sunday’s prompt and today’s form into one poem.


    When I was young, I
    had an idea
    of what my life would
    look like. Each day, each
    year, and each decade

    has, instead, pieced
    my life into
    a picture I’d
    not been planning.

    At nearly
    fifty: no
    husband or

    It’s just


    Paula Wanken


    The down comforter
    has sprung a leak (thin
    cotton + jagged
    toenails, a harsh coast)
    and there are small feathers here
    and there. Dandelion,
    spiderling feathers like light,
    touching things and leaving.

    Everything this morning
    is comprable to light. I slept well,
    dreamed of puffy clouds.

Comments are closed.