A Boy Named Sue (Shel Silverstein) My daddy left home when I was three And he didn't leave much to ma and me Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze. Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid But the meanest thing that he ever did Was before he left, he went and named me ``Sue.'' Well, he must o' thought that is was quite a joke And it got a lot of laughs from a' lots of folk, It seems I had to fight my whole life through. Some gal would giggle and I'd get red And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head, I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named ``Sue.'' Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean, My fist got hard and my wits got keen, I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame. But I made me a vow to the moon and stars That I'd search the honky-tonks and bars And kill that man that give me that awful name. Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July And I just hit town and my throat was dry, I thought I'd stop and have myself a brew. At an old saloon on a street of mud, There at a table, dealing stud, Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me ``Sue.'' Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad From a worn-out picture that my mother'd had, And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye. He was big and bent and gray and old, And I looked at him and my blood ran cold And I said: ``My name is `Sue!' How do you do! Now you gonna die!!'' Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes And he went down but, to my surprise, He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear. But I busted a chair right across his teeth And we crashed through the wall and into the street Kicking and a' gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer. I tell ya, I've fought tougher men But I really can't remember when, He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile. I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss, He went for his gun and I pulled mine first, He stood there lookin' at me and I saw him smile. And he said: ``Son, this world is rough And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough And I know I wouldn't be there to help ya along. So I give ya that name and I said goodbye I knew you'd have to get tough or die And it's that name that helped to make you strong.'' He said: ``Now you just fought one hell of a fight And I know you hate me, and you got the right To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do. But ya ought to thank me, before I die, For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you `Sue.''' I got all choked up and I threw down my gun And I called him my pa, and he called me his son, And I come away with a different point of view. And I think about him, now and then, Every time I try and every time I win, And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him Bill or George! Anything but Sue! I still hate that name! copyright Shel Silverstein JY
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!