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AN ODE TO THE GAME OF CRIBBAGE


AN ODE TO THE GAME OF CRIBBAGE

IN A TAVERN DARK AND DREARY,

I WAS HUNGOVER WEAK AND WEARY.

CRIBBAGE WAS THE EVENT OF THE DAY,

PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER HAD COME TO PLAY.

COMBATANTS WERE DRAWN AND CARDS WERE SHUFFLED,

WHEN THROUGH THE DOORS WALKED A MAN UNRUFFLED.

A PEARL Pearl inlaid CRIBBAGE BOARD FOR ALL TO VIEW,

HE STROLLED TO THE BAR AND ORDERED A BREW.

Then raised HIS BEER IN A taunting TOAST,

HE TURNED TO THE CROWD AND SAID IN BOAST,

“DIDN'T COME HERE TO QUENCH MY THIRST,

WHICH OF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE FIRST?”

I SAT ON A STOOL PERPLEXED AND DISMAYED,WHO ON

GOD'S EARTH WAS THIS RED HEADED KNAVE?

GENE BERMAN, HE SMILED IN RESPONSE TO MY THOUGHT,

AS HE SAT DOWN BESIDE ME WITH THE BEER THAT HE BOUGHT.

I AM HERE TO PLAY CRIBBAGE, HE SMILED WITH A GRIN,

WIPING A DOLLOP OF BREW FROM HIS CHIN.

THOUGH I ALSO PLAY POKER, GOLF AND TENNIS.

THIS MAN WAS A CURSE. THIS MAN WAS A MENACE.

GENE CUT THE CARDS AND DREW AN ACE,

A SMALL WRY SMILE APPEARED ON HIS FACE.

THE GAUNTLET WAS THROWN, AND THE GAME ENSUED.

AROUND US A CROWD, SOME CHEERED, SOME BOOED.

TOGETHER OUR PEGS MARCHED AROUND THE BOARD,

AS A GENTLE HUSH CAME OVER THE HOARD.

FIFTEEN FOR TWO AND A RUN IS TEN,

WAS A COUNT HE MADE AGAIN AND AGAIN.

OUR PEGS JOCKIED FOR THE LEAD A THOUSAND TIMES,

SOMETIMES THEY WERE GENE'S AND SOMETIMES MINE.

AND WHEN IT WAS OVER, IT CAME WITH A THUD!

I HAD LOST TWO DOLLARS AND A BOTTLE OF BUD.

SO I LEFT THAT TAVERN DARK AND DREARY,

AND CAME HOME WEAK AND WEARY.

AND WHEN I WAS ASKED WHERE I'D BEEN.

I SAID PLAYING CARDS WITH A FRIEND.

FOR I KNEW THEN, THAT THE RED HEADED KNAVE

AND I

A FREINDSHIP WOULD PAVE.

THOUGH SINCE EACH LIFE SPAN IS SHORT

WE’D BE FOES AND ALLIES IN ALL OF ITS SPORT.


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© 2019 Tucker Spolter