March Madness: A Bridge Too Far

Before the memories of our Siberian winter interlude fade and the Beast from the East shrinks before the outrages of the Pest from the West* (guess who and I don’t mean Storm Emma), here’s a poem which testifies to the addictive nature of Bridge and the drive to get one’s “fix”.  As with the previous post, this piece began in a Macclesfield Creative Writing Group workshop, an inspired, last minute theme chosen by Alan Horne for the hardy souls who had braved the blizzard conditions.

* I’ve heard this phrase coined independently from 2 sources, poet John Lindley and my recent bridge partner Beryl Footman.

March Madness: A Bridge Too Far

It was madness.

15 minutes to skim away the Volvo’s white mantle,

remove the snow blindfold from its windows,

scrape, scrape, scrape away the ice cataracts,

release imprisoned wipers from screen’s tenacious grip,

prise open the doors fused to ice-box bodywork.

Tugs of desperation resisted, brute force

from red gloved hands, gloved red hands,

a screech of disapproval, refusal from the doors:

“We’re not going anywhere! You’re not going anywhere!”


Once inside, a stomp to unleash compacted snow

and a rush to generate that vital heat.

A tractor’s roar. The engine bursts into life.

We creep out onto the rink.




  1. Alan Horne · March 7, 2018

    I like this. By the Pest from the West, I hope you don’t mean the Commander-in-Chief?


    • doggerelbanksy · March 7, 2018

      I claim the 5th. amendment. You missed an excellent inaugural session of “Testify” at the Storyhouse, Chester last night. Phil


  2. bunnymanzimbo · March 7, 2018

    Excellent as ever Phil.

    Sent from my iPhone



    • doggerelbanksy · March 7, 2018

      Thanks, Nick, glad you like it. I believe you’re convalescing, so best wishes with that. I’ll be doing a bit myself in a few weeks time (heart op. in the offing). Last night, Mark Rawlins and I were at the inaugural open mike “Testify” at the Storyhouse in Chester, organised by a buzzing Debz Butler. A good turn out (30?) of very vocal and enthusiastic young people and there were lots of powerful poems and performances from Guest Poet, Jane Bradley (?), Mark and Debz. In the “die hards” session, I did “Cricket Bat Calypso”, so I was able to reveal your covert (not) loathing of the game. Hope to get to John Lindley’s “Headspace”, Visyon, Congleton tonight. Phil


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