They used to say there were only two ways

To get out of these border towns

You take to the hills for the bandit’s life

Or take up priestly vows.

And who’s to say which life was worse

And which was the softest bed

That was the choice, then as now

The choice still, silver or lead.

When my older brother left our home

To take up the priestly black

We knew he’d be a different man

If he ever were to come back.

Me, I chose the other path

I joined a bandit gang

No-one saw us coming

We hit them hard and ran

We robbed a bank, we sacked a store

Some died and some of us bled

But we made the choice, as we had before

The choice was silver or lead.

One hard winter when the snow lay deep

Our bellies empty and our bodies thin

We rode into town and up to the church

And made the choice to commit the sin.

The priest was standing at the altar

He held a bible in his hand

I knew him before I saw his face

And now I am forever damned.

They killed him as I stood and watched

They would not let me turn away

They took the chalice and the crucifix

And then they made me stay

So for ten years now I’ve given my time

I sweep the floor and prepare the wine

Lowly duties, just one more choice

And every night, I hear his voice

But I know he’s gone, and I’m here instead

For choices made, silver or lead

Silver or lead…

©February2010 Jeffrey James Culling

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