The Game

involves balance and not stepping
on the cracks.  It involves a blank sheet
of paper and folding it to make a bird
 
in flight.  After that there is juggling
with two bean bags and three
oranges.  Because it is a game of skill
 
and chance, there are dice.  It is
a game for one person,  though
there may be others in the room.
 
The game can include tokens, which
often depict the heads of animals:
I have seen a dolphin, an Egyptian cat,
 
elephants and snakes: these days
an avatar is commonly used.  You will be judged
by the one you choose.  Do not play
 
if you are shy; do not play if
you do not have the right equipment.
There are colours in the game,
 
more than you can cope with, including
a kind of ultraviolet, at the far end
of the spectrum where bees see.
 
A result is when the bird has soared,
the dice long lost, and you are still in it.
 

uncollected poem © Jo Shapcott 2018, used by permission of the author

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Jo Shapcott

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1Keats Poems

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2Fox Collar

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3The Bee Poems

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5P

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6Vauxhall

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7The Game

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8The Wood Describes How to Get Lost

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9Darkling

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10The Elements

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11With what words will you describe this heart so as not to fill a book?

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12Voice/Consult

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13Three Slender Loris Poems

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14Piss Flower

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15Piss Flower Poems

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16Census

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17Phrase Book

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18Callisto's Song

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