In The Tent of Al-Fazir


In The Tent of Al-Fazir


Sat in the tent of Al-Fazir,

My cultured noble Grand Vizier,

We spoke at length of throne and state

All through the day and on, till late

That night he said “King, if I may

Suggest we stop awhile and play

Chess, which reflects this fine country,

From humble men to the gentry.”


'Twas new to me, Grand Vizier saw,

So he explained the basic laws:

That each side takes a turn to play

And both sought other's king to slay.

This told, my wise friend set a board

Between us and then further showed:

The king was the first he set down,

Whose presence represents my crown.


The queen came next; my adviser

Said with a smile that he was her.

The rooks placed now by his ringed hand

Were warlords under my command.

The bishops – tax-collectors they -

Charge obliquely to claim their pay;

Then knights are placed and I am told

They are champions, soldiers bold.


“But what of these small ones” I cried?

For in the box were more I'd spied.

Al-Fazir laughed and said “Dear king,

These are the soul of everything.

Without these pawns or common men

We would not have your throne; my pen

Can only order when there be

These simple folk obeying me.”


His meaning then I took to heart

For all the kingdom played its part.

A better king I vowed that day

Would strive to learn and love and play

This wondrous game I had been shown

To teach me lesson of my throne.

And for all of my life held dear

The words of sage old Al-Fazir.


Made slight alterations since posting.  Funny how things only strike you later.