Some time ago a game began
Of which I was a part
It looked so simple and so clear,
That winning seemed sure from the start.
The deck was shuffled, cards were dealt
And bets were lost and won
I didn't see the others leave
I was so caught up in the fun.
But all at once I realized
That I was all alone,
And that my losses quite outweighed
The small amount that I had won.
The dealer then proposed a plan
To help me pay my debts:
He offered to play for me and
All I would do was place the bets.
He promised me that he was quite
An expert at this game.
And with his help that I was sure
To win my losses back again.
I soon agreed and all was set.
Another round began.
He took my cards and told me that
My bet on them was sure to win.
And so it was I wagered trust
In all things that are true.
The dealer urged me to bet all;
Said holding back just would not do.
Just like he said I won the round,
And pleased with my success,
Went on to wager faith and love,
Dignity and respect.
And as the fated game went on,
I raised the stakes once more,
Wagering joy, contentment, peace,
Then all life had in store.
My debts were still not paid in full
Although I seemed to win,
And so in one final attempt
I finally went all in.
'Twas then I boldly wagered time
As if the years belonged to me
I played an hour twenty times
As if life were a guarantee.
And then I lost! I lost it all,
All that I had won,
My debts were now much larger than
They ever were when I'd begun
With nothing left to start again,
Now destitute and poor,
The dealer reached towards me and
Demanded I pay more.
Then I felt a gentle hand
Placed upon my arm.
A soft voice said, "She cannot pay,"
"Please do not do her harm."
The dealer shouted, "It's the rules!"
"Payment must be made!"
And then I heard Him simply say,
"Her debt is fully paid."
"There," he said, "I've covered it,
Now please let her go free."
"I've sacrificed it all today,
She leaves instead of Me."
I left that day with all the things
I'd wagered now restored.
While He remained and took my place
In settling the score.
Since then, when I am asked to play,
And promised wealth and gain,
I simply think of what He gave,
So I could live again.
This poem won 1st place for the January 2009 poetry contest