®

Today's poem is by Stephen Dunn

Ode to a Heart Loser

West need not lead hearts;
if south has a heart loser,
he canít avoid it.

        —Sheinwold on Bridge

You need not lead with your heart,
though if you do
best to know that a signal
can be a suggestion, not a command,
even sometimes a line of defense.

Bridge wisdom: important, but not
for lovers in first thrall, people
like you. Youíve stepped into a fire
you couldnít avoid,
youíve been the brave fool.
Never to have been a heart loser

means itís strategy after strategy
all life long, never an exalted feeling
undone by circumstance or time.
Oh, most of us have played the game,
waited for the other to be the one

to tip her hand. So praise to you
who allowed your heart
to be enlarged and alive and in danger,
and, for all you might lose, put up
no defenses. Instead, a clear signal

to your beloved because suddenly
you needed to give everything away,
a gesture so obvious it confused
even her, who only had been anticipating
something calculated, if not brilliant.



Copyright © 2007 Stephen Dunn All rights reserved
from Alehouse
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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