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The Fighter (filk of Kenny Rogers' 'The Gambler')


Marie la Fauconniere            


(with apologies to Kenny Rogers)

On a warm summer’s evening
On the road back from the battle
I met up with a fighter
We were tired beyond belief
As we walked on together
A-carryin’ our weapons
And wishin’ for a cool breeze
He began to speak.

He said, “Friend, I’ve spent a long time
Goin’ into battle
Knowin’ where the blows would fall
By the way they held their arms.
Now if you don’t mind my sayin’,
I can see you’re low in spirits.
For a drink of your water,
I’ll give you some advice.”

So I handed him my bottle
And he drank all but a swallow
That he poured right down his neck
To wash away the sweat.
He said, “Y’know, honor’s a funny thing
Sometimes we forget just what it means
But if you’re gonna play this game, my friend
Ya oughta learn to play it right.”

“You gotta know how to hold the field
Know when you oughta yield
Know where your shieldmates are
Never, ever run.
You never call your own blows
In the middle of the battle
There’ll be time enough for bragging
When the fighting’s done.”

“Ev’ry fighter knows
That the prizes we’re all after
The white belt and the golden crown
Are just symbols for the truth.
And today you might be losin’,
But tomorrow you might be winnin’,
And respect from your opponent’s worth
Far more than bein’ King.”

And when he’d finished speaking
He handed back my bottle
Hefted up his old warboard
And headed for his tent
And in the sunset light
His coronet flared bright
And in his words I found a truth
To keep me in the fight.

You gotta know how to hold the field
Know when you oughta yield
Know where your shieldmates are
Never, ever run.
You never call your own blows
In the middle of the battle
There’ll be time enough for bragging
When the fighting’s done.





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