Umbrella
A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose


Rose Kelleher’s

poems have appeared in Anon, The Dark Horse, Snakeskin, and other publications.

Her first book of poems, Bundle o’ Tinder, was chosen for the 2007 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize by Richard Wilbur and is available from Waywiser Press.


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The Knight’s Tour “The Knight’s Tour” is a problem in which a knight must visit each square on a chess board. A common approach to solving the problem, though not the most efficient, is to find a path by trial-and-error using recursion, in which a function calls itself.

A wrong move and he’s dragon meat. Yet he returns
to Square One undismembered after each attack;
and every time he meets a grim dead end, he learns

another lesson as his blackened flesh unburns.
Cursed and recursed, the errant knight keeps bouncing back.
A wrong turn turns him into toast, so he re-turns,

wheeling his steed around, and promptly butchered, earns
another chance for man and horse to rise intact
from death. In time, in this forgiving world, he learns

by heart what not to do. His practiced eye discerns
the dragon shape behind the fog, the beaten track
he mustn’t tread again. At last, the knight returns

unweary and still youthful after countless sojourns
deep in the void. The red claws whiten and retract.
The women’s tears flow up their cheeks. The hero learns

you can go home again. Inside, the darkness churns;
A dreamless Lethe washes all his memory black.
But at the queen’s command, he wakes and re-returns
to start again from scratch, and with each death, re-learns.