The Cardsharps by Michelangelo Caravaggio

The Swindle

Who does not dream of being loved?

For some it comes easily. For others it extracts

a heavy toll. For some it does not come at all.

The naïve boy with rosy checks and ruffles of lace

believes if he had enough money, he could marry the girl

of his dreams and marriage would bring love in return.

But sharps are everywhere and they have found

the boy. Game Theory and Human Nature tells us

every betrayal requires two parts, a winner and a loser.  

The sharps with high feathers in their hats, smile slyly

as they deal from the bottom and hide the crucial cards

behind their back for easy reach as they load the deck.

The story might end as the naïve boy losses all his money

and in his bitterness finds love unattainable or it might end

with one of the sharps finding redemption and becoming a saint.