The Bandit Behind My Chair

Stories are told of buccaneers bold
Who preyed on ships a-crest,
And of outlaw men who time and again
Plundered and pillaged the west.
This lawless breed, impelled by greed,
Divided their loot by the share.
Now each passing day I too fall prey
To the bandit behind my chair.

He’s only five but his mind is alive
To this make-believe medium of fun.
He conceals himself like a silent elf
And readies his two cap-guns.
At the close of each day he steals his way
To his favorite outlaw lair.
I know quite right I’ll be robbed tonight
By the bandit behind my chair.

He never feels that he is concealed
As long as his bright eyes glow,
But it’s quite all right if they’re out of sight
Regardless of what else may show.
There are many clues from his hat to his shoes
That betray where the bandit is hovered,
But I’m not supposed to notice those
As long as his eyes are covered.

At first I hear from behind my chair
The giggling bandit gay,
Then the giggle dies and the bandit’s eyes
Are fixed on his innocent prey.
Night after night I feign great fright
When I feel the bandit tense,
And the frightened surprise in his daddy’s eyes
Is the bandit’s recompense.

Swift and bold from his safe stronghold
The bandit appears for the kill,
And issues commands to raise both of my hands
If I want to stay out of boot hill.
Then quick as a flash he takes all of my cash
In the midst of my make-believe wails,
His cap-guns roar and I fall to the floor,
A dead man who’ll tell no more tales.

With grace and speed he remounts his steed
And races back to his lair
Where with gun in boot he divides the loot,
Each man in his gang gets a share.
Then plans are made for the next night’s raid
And his men ride away by the pair;
They feel great pride to ride by the side
Of the bandit behind my chair.

Later each night in the low-turned light
I kiss him and whisper my love,
And there by his bed with a low-bowed head
I pray to the Father above.
That wisdom from heaven to me shall be given
Each night is the theme of my prayer;
That through heavenly love I’ll be worthy of
The bandit behind my chair.

And there on my knee as I make my plea
Eternity whispers this truth;
Time’s rolling tide will take from my side
This first-born son of my youth.
When I’m led by His hand to the heavenly land
I will feel no more sorrow and care.
I shall know great bliss, but I’m sure I’ll miss
The bandit behind my chair.

 

Hal Upchurch, 1948