ABTA: Home of the American Bridge Teachers' Association

“To help those who teach bridge to do it better, more effectively, more knowledgeably, more professionally.”


Anisa Nixon

Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe's poem, "The Raven," we give you a poem just in time for Halloween.

A Halloween Hand

Once upon an evening still, while I pondered a hand most ill,
For any strong suits or which defenses best,
There came a knock-knocking on my apartment door,
As if someone was inclined to disturb my rest,
And the relaxation for which bridge was best,
Was not to continue, any more.

I grumbled and stood as quickly as able, my horrible hand flat on the table,
Bidding my partner a moment, please,
To see who was knock-knocking at my door.
I unlocked the lock, with scared, quivering knees,
Sure I could hear the ominous creaking of trees,
Over the sound of my heart’s sudden roar.

The knob turned without sound, my imagination abound,
For it was All Hallows’ Eve tonight,
Upon which our game had never fallen before.
My mouth was dry, my throat was tight,
As I turned the knob towards the right,
And slowly creaked open my dangerous door.

The clock struck three and I jumped, truthfully,
For the Witching Hour had me on guard.
I then stood in silent shock, my hand on the door,
As my former partner whose gaze was hard,
Showed his hands still full of our old cards,
Which held no luck, any more.

I couldn’t stop a scream, wishing it were a dream,
That he had returned with such a hand.
It was a nightmare at my door.
I shook my head against his demand,
That I take back that last grand slam,
Which I had never even asked for.

On that dark eve I just could not believe,
Even as my spine prickled with chill,
What my old partner would come back for.
Because I had moved on from that partnership thrill,
As he’d outlined in his last will,
Since he had died, three years before.

But in a blink he had vanished, as if he had been banished,
From this moment, now quiet and still,
Leaving me alone standing at my door.
I turned back to the table and my current partner Jill,
Picking up the hand I’d left there to swill,
And gasped to see it a different score.

Our new bidding started and I played brave-hearted,
With this fresh hand given to me,
Thanks to an old partner at my door.
We took all our tricks with no debris,
And I made a new decree,
Not to turn away old partners, any more.

At least not on All Hallows’ Eve!