I once knew a man, a tired old man
Who was barely but skin and bones
And a sweet, gentle smile that lasted a while
By the name of Widower Jones.
All kindness was he, and grandfatherly
To all of the people he'd known
And he seemed as a child, so loving and mild
Was dear old Widower Jones.
Yet those sweet, kindly eyes held a fiend in disguise
Who on wings of sheer cunning had flown;
Who would gladly say yes to a good game of chess
Were it asked of Widower Jones.
When starting this fight, he always chose white,
Like the color of Death's dreaded bones
He was sneaky and sly, with a discerning eye,
That tiger named Widower Jones!
Like a tailor, he'd stitch out a pattern, then switch
To a trap, to get your king alone,
And you'd haven't a choice but to hear his soft voice
Call a checkmate for Widower Jones.
He had done this for years and showed nary a fear
That one dark day, he would be dethroned
By a quiet young man with a slow, gentle hand –
The heir of Widower Jones.
Oh, their battle was long, and both were so strong!
Such tense fighting, no soul had yet known!
And all time seemed to slow, and the air seemed to glow
'Round the youth and 'round Widower Jones!
Both defended and fended, but war soon was ended
By one cry, as cold as a stone
And the wounded king bled as the youth finally said
"Checkmate" to old Widower Jones.
The defeated man smiled and said "Listen, child,
What I say is for your ears alone.
My old chess set you've won – Please keep it, young one."
Said the gentle old Widower Jones.
That dark night, in his room, the old man met his doom,
For our lives we but borrow, not own
As he drew his last breath, the old man met his death
And no more was Widower Jones.
By his grave, a youth lies with tears in his eyes
For the old man he once had known
And he sets a small thing – an ivory king –
Near the tombstone of Widower Jones.
For though he is gone and his soul has moved on
And the earth cradles his weary bones,
In the heart and the hands of one quiet young man
Lies the memory of Widower Jones.