Thursday, July 30, 2009

Puffy Eyes


"Mama,
please
sing
Jackie
Paper
for
us."
We have a ritual that if after our night time story, the children still have trouble falling asleep, I sing lullabies to them. Wren often chooses the songs in a small whisper, and more often than not, Puff the Magic Dragon is close to the top of the list. I grew up with this song sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary. I had it on a 33 and played it till I knew the lyrics by heart. Still, some thirty years later, it still chokes me up. It used to be that I could get all the way to the part where Jackie Paper grows up without my voice catching. But now that I have had Dane, it takes a lot less time to falter my voice. Wren loves this song so much. On some level, she understands it to be a right of passage. She knows that it is both happy and sad and wonders at how singing a song can make her Mama tear up so easily. Still, I sing it whenever she asks. But it always leaves me feeling a bit sad, especially now that I have my own Jackie Paper. If you haven't heard the song in a while, or perhaps never heard it the whole way through, here it is in written form. Sing it with someone you love.
"Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee,
Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal puff,
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff.
Oh Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee.
Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on puffs gigantic tail,
Noble kings and princes would bow wheneer they came,
Pirate ships would lower their flag when Puff roared out his name.
Oh! Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee.
A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.
His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend, Puff could not be brave,
So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave.
Oh! Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee."
I have often thought about writing another happier verse to end this song, but it some ways it would miss the whole point of the song, wouldn't it? Our little ones grow up before our very eyes and this is what the songs authors, Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow, beg us not to miss. But... it is still so difficult to leave Puff in that cave all alone. I always hope another little boy comes along.

2 comments:

mama bear said...

This Grammy's eyes are very wet! But, then, I think -- Puff cannot be left in his cave, so sad, when so many of us still love him! Love makes everything right and makes the unhappy, very happy....

Lisa said...

Beautiful.