Most every day when the bell said 'play',
we'd head for the open field;
Where the scrubby weeds from last year's seeds
kept the gopher holes concealed.
With a leather pouch and a stealthy crouch, we'd
play the game of 'chase';
'Til a sharp cr-ack!
increased one sack, and left two kinds of face.
Aggies and purees, boulders and peewees, with a
cateye here and there;
And my favorite mate was a cloudy
some bubbles in the air.
So when my soul burned hotter
than coal, that
aggie I'd lay on the line;
No way we would lose, 'twas just a cruise ---
and my 'gate was fine.
"Hey, I'm the King" my thumb would sing, as
the agate spun away;
That gyroscope meant no more hope, and the crack! left nothin' to
Oh, life was fun --- I was number-one of the boys
who rolled for gold;
They all stood around and kicked the ground as I
won back marbs I'd sold.
But word came down, from a distant town, of a
legend headed south;
Who was vise-grip wise, with steel-blue eyes, and
a steel toothpick in his mouth.
The tales they told!
Of a kid so cold he'd win your lunch-sack too;
And eat right there with a dreadful stare from
eyes of ice-steel blue.
At dawn one day, I was on my way to see some
friends across town;
Up against a tree , near school, all three were
leaned with their heads hung down.
The Steelie King!
--- he'd done his thing! --- my eyes swept over the field;
And standing there was a look of dare whose folded
arms said: yield.
He wore old jeans with busted seams, stood in
shoes with no more days;
His tattered shirt was scruffed with dirt, and
oh--- what a frightful gaze.
On out I strolled,
tryin' to look bold, tho' my
mind had gone sublime;
"Hey, I'm the King" my thumb might sing ---
but I wondered if --- in time?
For minutes, slow, it was shoot-and-go, as we
tested dew-damp earth;
I finally turned and said
"I've learned a cold soul ain't got no worth."
"My pearly 'gate's your certain fate ---
your devil's soul dies here;
And when it's dead I doubt I'll shed a single
Unflinchingly, he looked at me, said
"I see, kid, you don't understand";
His eyes had the feel of ice-cold steel --- and that's what he held in his hand.
A marble of steel!
--- frightfully real! --- so that's how he'd gotten his name!
It wasn't his eyes
--- what a bad surprise ---
that shimmering steel was his fame!
The chase was on as the mists of dawn rose to
greet the sun at the hill;
It was stone-of-feel against flashing steel, and
we each pressed on for the kill.
Then a mustard weed, in a chance good deed, up'n
stopped that steel head-on;
And I spun my soul on a golden
roll to my fame
four feet beyond.
a pebble said Hi, and kicked it by, up and over a gopher mound;
a "Bombsie" call, and raised steel ball,
made my heart begin to pound.
Well, this was it
--- he would either hit, or that
steelie would be mine;
'Cause a bombsie drop can't roll, just plop
--- his crown was down on the line.
He glared real mean, 'til he knew I'd seen all
the coldness in his heart;
Then with fierce aplomb he launched that bomb ---
and smashed my agate apart.
A thousand screams tore at my seams, but I kept
'em locked inside;
And faked it so he'd never know a part of me had
My head held high in the morning sky, I turned
away for a while;
Then a low soft sound brought me around
face the Steelie King smile.
But what'd I see?
--- there, on one knee ---teardrops were falling on dew;
Cascading down beneath that frown from the eyes of
He kneeled and cried, and though I tried, his
wound I couldn't see;
He just stared down at the silent ground
finally spoke to me.
"I know my looks ain't from picture books,
'cause people shy away;
measured by my silent eyes --- I ain't got much to say."
"I got no home, just an endless roam of watchin'
I've had to find my piece of mind with nature,
not with friends."
"I cry because that aggie was the finest I ever
An' I'd hoped your eyes would see that I
lonely kid --- not mean."
The word had begun that I had won; my friends ran
out with cheers;
I helped him rise, saw beyond his eyes, and my own
were filled with tears.
Then with great surprise did I realize, as the
crowd came like a tide
I with the feel of ice-cold steel , and worse --- mine had been inside.
it didn't take long to change his song --- our
foursome soon became five;
And no one in town noticed his frown,
'cause his smile had come alive.
So that was the way, and that the day, I bid
blind youth adieu;
When I learned to see --- others, and me ---
through those eyes of ice-steel blue.
eyes of ice-steel blue he came
Steelie King came to town
turned to see him smile one time
when his head hung down