The Players and the Game

Maybe it’s this glass of wine or the time of day

But the ghosts are out tonight.

I see a boy, a ukulele, he’s smiling as he plays

In the fading light.

And as he’s looks on down the road

Waiting, out of frame,

In the shadows, through the trees are

The players and the game.


He plays an old-time three-chord tune

‘My Darling Ellie Rhee’

About the fields of yellow corn

Down in Tennessee.

And  somewhere way on down that road

Is the man that he became.

If he knew then what he knows now

About the players and the game.


And sure enough, his time will come and he’ll play his part

In the thick of it at last.

He’ll cut the deals and get along, he’ll break heads and hearts

For the game is hard and fast.  ***

And when you play, you play to win

In that there is no shame

Except for those in the way

Of the players and the game.


So welcome to this ship of fools – keep just one thing in mind,

It’s the oldest of the oldest rules – my babies, please be kind.


He’ll think that it will never end, the way that game is played,

It never stopped or slowed

But one day he’ll find himself, all alone again

As they dance on down the road.

And so it turns and turns and turns,

So different, so the same.

If I knew then what I know now

About the players and the game.

So carry me back to Tennessee, that’s where I long to be

Amid the fields of yellow corn with my darling Ellie Rhee.


Terence Blacker  –  vocals, guitar, ukulele