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Aces to Ashes

His hands had speed that made men fear
like flashing lightning bolts,

dispatching death with every round
from two revolving Colts.

A farmer's son from Illinois,
in 1851,

he gained his prowess in the trade
of how to shoot a gun.

The tall, fierce image of a man
whose boots were hard to fill,

his name was James B. Hickok
but they knew him as “Wild Bill”.

He had distinction at first sight
with long, loose flowing hair,

a pancake hat and buckskin clothes
and an icy, cold blue stare.

His proven skills with guns and knives
and handsome manly luster

were praised once in an article
by one George Armstrong Custer.

His shooting fame came early on
in 1858;

he did away with five outlaws
who must have fired too late.

One day, he got called out
to face a menace with a gun

who didn't have too long to wish
he really should have run.

They say when Wild Bill shot that man
he calmly turned around,

while his opponent shook and died
before he hit the ground.

Some legends, tales and unknown facts
were spread on Wild Bill's life,

like lawman, coachman, wild west act;
he also had a wife.

Reportedly, Bill's eyes went bad,
he started going blind.

One night in Deadwood, playing cards,
he was shot from behind.

Before he died, he held two pairs,
now known across the land,

decidedly, as “aces and eights”,
the fateful “Dead Man's Hand”.

~William A. Tatum

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Aces To Ashes