The Game of Marriage

A poem about poker and marriage

Playing cards I bought on a trip I took to Toronto


My grandmother taught me and my siblings how to play poker and other card games when we were growing up. We’d play lots of different kinds of card games with her and my mom. Her favorite poker game was “Follow the Queen”. I miss my grandmother. She lived into her 90’s, and I have many wonderful memories of her growing up. She lived long enough to see me get married and have two children of my own. I’ve been happily married now for over 25 years. My parents have been happily married for over 50 years. I haven’t been able to see my mom and dad in over a year due to the pandemic. My mom just celebrated her birthday today, so I thought I would publish this poem to share with her.

This is a poem I wrote in 1988 that was published in my high school’s art and literary magazine. My grandmother taught me most of what I knew at the time about playing cards and poker. My parents and grandparents were the role models I had to learn from at the time about marriage. I hope you enjoy the poem, and my selection of pictures to go with it.

The Game of Marriage

Ante 25 dollars,
Do you take this man?
Five card draw,
Do you take this woman?
Deuces are wild.
By commitment you are now bound.

Ten of hearts…
The first months filled with love…
The One-eyed Jack…
Eventually suspicions arise…
Queen of Spades…
Is there someone else?
The Suicide-King…
Life would not be the same…
Ace of Diamonds…
Finally the seven years of strife end.

All is well…
The spouses have remained straight…
No one folds.
The marriage has won.

My grandma, my mom, my wife and me

Java Champion. Creator of the Eclipse Collections OSS Java library ( Inspired by Smalltalk. Opinions are my own.

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