Late upon one stormy night when no heavenly stars could be seen,
A lonely rider on a broken mare crossed over a border stream.
His back was bowed, and fatigue it showed, on every part of his frame.
But he struggled fast, through a howling blast, not even God could tame.
For he meant to make the town of Keepsake, despite the warring skies.
He was hunting the men, who murdered his kin, this stranger with the devil’s eyes.
For two long years he bit bitter tears, but he was always a step too slow
That hound from hell, that no lawman could fell, the outlaw named Cactus Joe.
The town folks tell how many men fell, when they faced his lightning draw.
His guns would blaze and then out of the haze, a look of shock and awe.
But there was one man, with a leathery tan, from years under cloudless skies
Who was hunting for Joe and ready for show, the stranger with the devil’s eyes.
On his hip he wore a Colt Forty-Four with ten notches carved in its’ grip.
Each one for a man from Cactus Joe’s band, though Joe always gave him the slip.
Now everyone knows how the face of death shows on those who pay its’ dues.
With a worn-thin look, from ten lives he took, there was one thing left he must do.
Word came down that Joe was in town and he promised that someone would die.
So to Keepsake he came, the man with no name, the stranger with the devil’s eyes
Word spread through the town, where Joe was found, with two aces and a pair of fours.
He played his hand and began to stand, saying “Boys, I got to settle this score.”
They faced on the street, dust swirled at their feet, bullets ready to find their mark.
The streets quickly cleared and town folks peered from windows and doors gone dark.
None dared to breathe, the hatred seethed, as they glared into each other’s eyes.
“Its’ time to pay, it’s your judgment day, ” said the stranger with the devil’s eyes.
Then all who were there, later would swear, that Joe fired three times first.
How he missed that day, from five feet away, and with such a deadly burst
Is anyone’s guess, but I will confess, I don’t think Joe’s skill was to blame.
Then the stranger drew, quite calmly too, and carefully took deadly aim.
He shot Cactus Joe, and the fatal blow, caught Joe with a look of surprise.
another round fired, before Joe expired, that struck him right between the eyes.
If you were there, as smoke filled the air, and saw how the bullets seemed to pass through
Then you’ll understand, that no mortal man, could have done what we say is true.
For when hate fills your soul, no matter how bold, the evil that someone has done
Evil moves in, with its’ hideous grin, and deals vengeance out with a gun.
So beware your fate, if your heart’s full of hate, for there’s nothing under God’s blue skies
That will save your soul from an evil so cold as the stranger with the devil’s eyes.
RDavenport 2001 (C)