Anisa Nixon

Inspired by C. Clement Moore's poem, "’Twas the Night Before Christmas," we give you a poem just in time for the Holidays.

‘Twas the Night Before the Tournament

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the club,
Not a partner was stirring, not even for late-night grub.
The decks were all shuffled, stacked with such care,
In hopes that strong hands soon would be there.

The partners were snuggled all warm in their beds,
While visions of auctions danced in their heads.
And Jill in her pajamas and I in my socks,
Had just settled in for a nightcap on the rocks.

When out on the deck there arose such a sound,
I sprang from my seat to see what was around.
Away to the sliding door I flew like a bat,
Tore open the glass and stepped out on the mat.

The moon was there sparkling on new-fallen snow,
Giving light to the scene happening below.
When, what to my widening eyes should appear
But a miniature car with eight spade-covered deer.

With a little old driver, spritely and fast,
I knew it had to be a player of tournaments past.
Quicker than auctions his reindeer they slowed,
And he stood up and called out while they showed.

“Now 1 Club! Now 2 Diamond! Now 3 Heart and Four!
On, 1 Spade! On, 2 Spade! On No Trump and more!
To the top of the deck, to the top of the roof!
Now disappear away without any proof!”

As snowflakes in the middle of a big flurry fly,
They met with the roadside and up into the sky.
On to the roof-tops the spade-reindeer leapt,
With a car full of toys to a house where bridge players slept.

And then, in a flash, I heard on the ceiling,
The shifting and settling of those reindeer kneeling.
As I stepped back inside and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas landed aground.

He was dressed in red from his head to his toe,
And his boots and hat were all covered in snow.
A bag full of goodies was slung on his back,
And he looked like a salesman, loaded with a knick and a knack.

His eyes were all sparkly, his grin way too glowing,
As if he’d seen all the cards and was all plays knowing.
His hand lifted in a wave, cards tucked in his sleeve,
And I picked up my drink, preparing to leave.

The stick of a candy cane he held in his teeth,
Patting the leaves as he passed by a wreath.
“How about a hand,” he said with a smile,
“I don’t have to be on the road for a while.”

Dumbstruck, I nodded, saying, “Hang on a ‘tick,”
Asking the only other partner still awake to pair with old Nick.
I settled across from Jill, who set out the deal,
And Nick sat to my west, quivering with zeal.

The game passed by quickly as the night, it wore on,
Jill and I were up bids, then down bids at dawn.
St Nick saw the sky lighten and tossed down his suits,
Hurriedly pulling back on his old boots.

“I really must be going but thanks for the game,”
He said from the chimney and I felt the same.
My eyes were gritty and aching for sleep,
But I knew that my dreams would be peaceful and deep.

I’m glad that St. Nicholas stopped by the table.
Like a legend or myth or something from fable,
I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to e’erybody and to all a good-night!”