Being ruthless at chess,
clearing the checkered field
of battle leads to victory
and all the people and horses
return unharmed for the next match.

Being ruthless at football,
playing to injure your opponent
only leads to escalating violence,
carried off on a stretcher
sometimes never to play again.

Being ruthless at politics,
behaving at though it’s a game,
a tribal Armageddon where your rivals
are evil instead of merely wrong,
is how we’ve fallen into this mess.

Politics is not war nor a horse race,
despite the television news,
it’s how we organize society,
it’s about win-win solutions,
it’s why the thoughtful tend to lose.

(From today’s Living Poetry prompt.)

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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