Friday, April 27, 2007

Magic dragons

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.

When I was in kindergarten, I spent a lot of time at my best friend's house. Her dad is a folk singer and he used to sing to us sometimes when I visited. I think of him every time I see a Peter, Paul and Mary special on PBS, but there are two songs that I distinctly remember him singing to us: "Mares Eat Oats" and "Puff the Magic Dragon".

Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on Puff's gigantic tail,
Noble kings and princes would bow whene'er they came,
Pirate ships would lower their flag when Puff roared out his name.

Listening to the lyrics then, I believed that Puff and that little boy really did have great travels together. I vividly pictured the kings that bowed to them and the pirate ships that cowered when they passed.

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.

But soon my best friend and I were in different classes, and then different school, and I forgot about Jackie and Puff...

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.

Until I discovered the magic of downloading music in college (legally, of course!). Now I have "Puff" on my iPod and I think of my best friend and her father every time it comes on. The magic of the internet also put me back in contact with my childhood friend, so I can admire the unique and amazing woman she grew up to be. But it wasn't until today that I realized that Jackie and Puff's adventures may have been through Jackie's imagination… but they'll always be real to me.

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

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At 3:51 PM, Blogger Lauren said...

My mom used to sing that around the house, and the end always made me cry. I was outraged that he'd forget Puff, because I was sure that I never would. I'm glad you rediscovered Puff!

At 6:53 PM, Blogger bill said...

You mean, you don't think of the AC-47 Vietnam era gunship? (g)

Yeah, I liked that tune, too.

At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Marky Mark said...

Hopefully this doesn't color your experience of that song, but I have heard many times that while it is a beautiful story, PTMD is also a metaphor for weed/joints/bongs.

At 3:42 PM, Anonymous marky mark said...

Okay, you are going to think I'm lying through my teeth, but guess what just came on my iPod... ;)


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