Three of Spades: Fire at will (a perfect match)

No arms in, no wives out. (Sorry about the photo quality, the card is in London so I can’<p>t redo it.)

Join the few,

couple, two.

Give your life

to your wife.

Arms race

to embrace.

Open fire

warms desire.



family cheer,

firing range,

heat exchange,

Dead meat

fit to eat

No-fly zone

muslin cone.


Hate crimes,

love rhymes.



I didn’t give my writing project much attention toward the beginning of the week. I figured I’d be seeing Jonathan Coulton on Thursday, and spending the weekend in London, so I should have no shortage of inspiration. As you might expect, come Sunday morning I had nothing written. Luckily, I had a train ride from London to Paris ahead of me, with five and a half hours undisturbed to get something on paper. 


To my surprise, I ended up with three poems. This one is based loosely on a three of spades owned by my host in London (of which I don’t have the opportunity to take a better photo), depicting one of the customs posts of Tokyo. According to him, to keep peace in ancient Japan, the warlords’ wives were kept hostage in Tokyo. He summarised it by saying that no arms were allowed in, no wives allowed out. This also meant that those living furthest from Tokyo, and thus having the lowest status, would be appropriately penalised by the travel costs.


I was immediately taken by the idea of writing something about being metaphorically ‘too far from Tokyo’, that is, far from one’s heart. Unfortunately for you, I also couldn’t help thinking of the pun implied by the summary. A warlord might travel the length of Japan to have his wife in his arms, only to find that no arms were allowed in. I didn’t seriously think that such a corny pun would get me anywhere, but on the train this morning I thought of, ‘arms race, to embrace’ and just ran with it. The result was this love and war pun-fest. I’d like to work with it some more with the hope of making the odd- and even-numbered lines form individual poems, as well as making the whole thing a little more coherent. I have a few half-formed ideas for new couplets.


A couple of things probably aren’t clear enough… the ‘muslin cone’ I was thinking of was a mosquito net, or something similar to keep flies off barbecued food (which is essentially the subject of the second stanza.) Perhaps ‘netting cone’ would be better. I wanted ‘cooking somethingendinginange’ instead of ‘heat exchange’ to show that ‘firing range’ means turning on the range to cook some meat. Maybe ‘cooking  strange’ would work, continuing the sentence with ‘dead meat’.


I also wrote a poem inspired by the letter C, which I will post separately. Hopefully I’ll manage to type it up before midnight. 

, , ,

  1. C: Death of Consumption « Writing Cards and Letters

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: