Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

A poem about the pitfalls of gambling seen through a day at the horse races. As with every form of gambling, there are always winners and losers. Sometimes in unexpected ways.

Winners and Losers Entering the Straight
Winners and losers entering the straight

Winners and Losers

by John Hansen © 2013

The crowd is cheering loudly

As they turn into the straight.

Betting tickets held aloft

“My horse is going great!”

 

‘Fleeting Glance’ is two lengths clear,

I’m sure to win a grand.

Oh no! that’s not the name

On the ticket in my hand.

 

I must have got my numbers crossed

When I put on my bet.

The one I backed is ‘Nothing Less’,

And she’s not coming yet.

 

I toss my ticket in the trash

So sure I’ve lost the lot,

When ‘Nothing Less’ comes flying home

And ‘Fleeting Glance’ just stops.

 

She takes the lead right on the line,

At 56 to 1,

The ticket’s worth five times as much

Then if ‘Fleeting Glance’ had won.

 

Frantically I scavenge

Throwing trash from out the bin.

As a hobo with a smiling face

Takes a ticket to cash in.

A hobo with a smiling face
A hobo with a smiling face…

John Hansen

Longtime poet but not in the traditional technical sense. I enjoy rhyme but like to experiment and dabble in many different forms and maybe even make up some of my own. There is always a message or lesson I want to promote through my writing, for that reason, my poetry generally shies away from the abstract and obscure.

After a lot of procrastinating I have finally self-published my first eBooks of poetry "I Laughed a Smile" and "On the Wings of Eagles" at Lulu.com.Now I find myself branching out and experimenting with short fiction.

I have also been fortunate to have two poems chosen to be made into songs and recorded. The first "On the Road to Kingdom Come" by Al Wordlaw, and the second, "If I Could Write a Love Poem" by award-winning Israeli/British singer Tally Koren.

I am also finding my services increasingly in demand as a freelance writer and I have ghost-written the text for a number of children's books and educational tutorials.

It has taken me many years of searching and restlessness to realise that my life's passion is to write. It saddens me that I wasted so many years not devoting to that, but thinking positively, the experiences gained over those years is now wonderful material for my stories and poems.

I want to try to bring a new focus on poetry and try to make it appealing to a new generation of young people and those who thought they never liked or understood it before.

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John Hansen

Longtime poet but not in the traditional technical sense. I enjoy rhyme but like to experiment and dabble in many different forms and maybe even make up some of my own. There is always a message or lesson I want to promote through my writing, for that reason, my poetry generally shies away from the abstract and obscure. After a lot of procrastinating I have finally self-published my first eBooks of poetry "I Laughed a Smile" and "On the Wings of Eagles" at Lulu.com. Now I find myself branching out and experimenting with short fiction. I have also been fortunate to have two poems chosen to be made into songs and recorded. The first "On the Road to Kingdom Come" by Al Wordlaw, and the second, "If I Could Write a Love Poem" by award-winning Israeli/British singer Tally Koren. I am also finding my services increasingly in demand as a freelance writer and I have ghost-written the text for a number of children's books and educational tutorials. It has taken me many years of searching and restlessness to realise that my life's passion is to write. It saddens me that I wasted so many years not devoting to that, but thinking positively, the experiences gained over those years is now wonderful material for my stories and poems. I want to try to bring a new focus on poetry and try to make it appealing to a new generation of young people and those who thought they never liked or understood it before.

16 thoughts on “Winners and Losers

  • May 5, 2016 at 10:21 AM
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    Hi John. Lighthearted and fun to read with a truth spoken – winners and losers. And the timing is perfect with The Kentucky Derby taking place in America this weekend!

    Reply
  • May 5, 2016 at 11:41 AM
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    Thank you, William, I appreciate that. I like to write some lighthearted comic poetry and limericks occasionally. I wasn’t aware it was Kentucky Derby time though. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Reply
  • May 5, 2016 at 1:46 PM
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    Oh! The cost of losing faith on something can cause a lot of heartache. Lucky Hobo, for sure. Very fun read, John. I love the excitement of the Kentucky Derby. I have never placed a bet on it, but it is so fun to cheer for my favorite. Thanks for a lively and lighthearted poem. Very enjoyable.

    Reply
  • May 5, 2016 at 2:01 PM
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    Thanks or reading this Phyllis. I used to be a regular punter but not anymore…it had it’s ups and downs, but now I only bet on The Melbourne Cup or if I happen to see a horse with a name that’s relevant to me. I love movies about the Kentucky Derby or Triple Crown winners…like Seabiscuit or Secretariat.

    Reply
  • May 5, 2016 at 9:36 PM
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    I’ve played the ponies, won and lost but never to a Hobo. I liked the tempo of this poem John. I’ve often wondered myself if I’ve thrown away a winner. Now I’m going to think twice before I toss my ticket to the trash can.

    Reply
  • May 5, 2016 at 11:44 PM
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    Thanks Vincent. You can’t be too careful. “It’s never over until the fat lady sings” and even then there can be a protest. I never lost to a hobo either as far as I know.

    Reply
  • May 6, 2016 at 3:45 AM
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    That’s a great tale John, so well penned and poignant as to the nature of gambling. So succinct and well structured to show us the folly of the gambler, always hopeful yet rarely a winner. great work and very much enjoyed.

    Reply
  • May 6, 2016 at 7:29 AM
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    Thank you for the encouraging comment, Tony. It was a bit of fun to write…but quite poignant as you say.

    Reply
  • May 6, 2016 at 3:04 PM
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    Imagine throwing out the winning ticket! We should hold on, have faith and wait and not give up. Great write.

    Reply
  • May 7, 2016 at 11:15 AM
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    Hi Nithya, no, we shouldn’t act in haste. The most unexpected can happen. Thanks for reading.

    Reply
  • May 7, 2016 at 9:18 PM
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    Hahaha John, this reminds me of an episode of Friends too where they lose a bunch of ticket and one for $10,000 is found on the street! Sounds like my luck. A fun read we can all relate to.

    Reply
  • May 8, 2016 at 2:43 AM
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    Thanks for reading and commenting, Jackie. It is meant as a bit of fun, but possible.

    Reply
  • June 13, 2016 at 5:40 PM
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    This was a fun read. This happened to me once. I dropped my ticket. ( I didn’t know I’d dropped it. ) When I realized I had a winning ticket, it was lost in a maze of discarded tickets on the floor. I never did find it. LOL

    Reply
  • June 13, 2016 at 5:44 PM
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    Thanks Ruby. That was unfortunate, losing your ticket. It is easy to do. I hope you didn’t miss out on a fortune.

    Reply
  • September 17, 2016 at 11:27 AM
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    I have lived most of my life in Nevada and understand this too well. Everyday when I drive to work I pass by people who are victims to gambling. Thank you for sharing. I love how you write about very serious very real issues that need conversations. Jamie

    Reply
  • September 17, 2016 at 4:41 PM
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    Yes, Jamie..Nevada the gambling state. I was once addicted to gambling on horse racing. Thankfully I overcame that, but Gambling is a real social problem and I feel poetry is a great way of highlighting issues that need to be faced.

    Reply

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