The Winners Of The 1st Playing Bingo Poetry Competition

1st Place – Simon French: Winter’s Lucky Lady

A Poem by Simon French – an entry in the 1st Playing Bingo Poetry Competition.

The bingo dreams of Vera
keep her lumbering every Saturday night
in plastic rainhood through cloudburst & wind.

Her ‘cleaners’ knee’ clicks the ache
up steps, a last suck on a Richmond;
her cathedral of numbers a warm glow of light & chance.

That same seat creaks
under the weight of her Mablethorpe reverie;
a caravan, local chippie and a week away from buckets & mops.

Come on Caller
incantate the numeric, the clucking crowd hang
on your every banter, quick fingers twitch in wait for ‘Duck & Dive

or ‘Heaven’s Gate’ 78;
the winner’s whoop sends tremors out along tattooed arms
leaving Vera to deflate in taxi, an echo of bleach growing louder & harsh.


2nd Place – Sadie Few: Bingo Wings

A Poem by Sadie Few – an entry in the 1st Playing Bingo Poetry Competition.

Just recently, I did something I never thought I’d do

I played a game of bingo with my Nan and her crew

Sure I had my doubts – I thought nah that’s not for me

But then I thought to myself – it can’t be worse than watching TV

So there I was right, in this room full of Nans

Eyeing up the prizes of various pickles and jams

As something came over me. I felt out of control

Thinking about – how much I need to win those sausage rolls

So the numbers start rolling, I’m out of my depth

I’m in a panic – scanning my numbers right and left

Then my Nan lends me a hand and I realise – I’m not so smart

I underestimated these dear old ladies who are moving their pens so fast

Because I can’t keep up – I’m feeling the heat

Even though I’m so focussed trying my best to compete

All the 2’s, 22, Qwak Qwak,

Leg’s 11, Oooer – wait up what was that?

The grey haired perms, the knowing smiles,

As I shout ‘HERE’ – but it’s for full house not lines.

Now come the jibes, and in her fenland accent the caller replies

‘She doont knoo what’s gooin on’ – The room cries

With laughter – at me – cheeks flush red, heart beats fast

The cockiness I came in with now a thing of the past

My Nan flashes me a glance – tightens the grip on my hand

She’s laughing too – but it doesn’t matter – at least now I understand

So I formulate a plan – there’s still plenty of time

I can still win and those sausage rolls will be mine

So… Head down, pen ready, pride-swallowed, ears sharp

I process those numbers coming in thick and fast

10…. Yes, 66…. now 73 please, YES – I’VE GOT A LINE

But instead of shouting out – I check first to see if I’m right

But the next numbers called – I’ve run out of time

Someone else shouts ‘Here’ – and I watch them take the prize


Now the games over, I’m empty handed

I look around at the prizes everyone else has landed

Tinned fruit, jammy dodgers, rich T’s, cans of spam

I feel envious, deflated, pining over those jars of jam

Maybe I wanted it too much – but it’s not easy and I haven’t got the touch

But my Nan does – she’s in her element here

Laughing with her friends – so full of cheer

And just at that moment I realise – I’ve actually had a good time

I kept an open mind and I went down in style



3rd Place – Michael Harrup: Bingo

A Poem by Michael Harrup – an entry in the 1st Playing Bingo Poetry Competition.

Bingo’s an old man sitting by the bar

Bingo’s his shout, when his card had got that far

Bingo’s an old man, who always loved to play

Bingo’s a grandfather, going old and grey

Bingo’s where he went, to have a little fun

Bingo’s that smirk that he’d wear when he won

Bingo’s a father; my mother’s, to be precise

Bingo was always his one and only vice

Bingo’s where I wish that I’d spent more of my time

Bingo’s the old man, looking for his line

Bingo’s a sailor, who served his hero’s time

Bingo’s a game, for a man who lived with pride

Bingo’s a brother, who left a sister behind

Bingo’s a father, who left a daughter to cry

Bingo’s an uncle, loved by all the kids

Bingo’s the one, who always gives you gifts

Bingo’s a friend, who always made you laugh

Bingo’s getting old and leaves the water in the bath

Bingo’s a granddad, or at least it is to me

Bingo’s a man, whose spirit now is free

Bingo’s who we lost, when age took its toll

Bingo’s now a word that makes my heart feel cold

Bingo’s a game with money on the line

Bingo’s a gamble, but not an evil kind

Bingo’s more than a game to me, my friend

Bingo’s a man who I’ll never see again

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