Piano Cover: Puff

| By Paul | | Comments (12)


This is a rather quickly put together second piano recording. I used to play this for my children when they were very young. A friend mentioned the song the other day and that reminded me of the wonderful memories of playing it. I hope you find it peaceful.

The lyrics are:

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.

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 flags when Puff roared out his name.

A dragon lives forever but not so girls and 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.

Of course, since the song was recorded in the early 60s by Peter, Paul and Mary, many assumed it was about smoking marijuana. The lyrics were written by Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow who were students at Cornell and who have said this is not what the song is about at all.

It is what the lyrics say. One of the authors, Yarrow, sings the lyrics as modified above to make it gender neutral (as opposed to just about a "little boy"). It's about growing up and losing interest in imagination, leaving a dragon playmate lonely and depressed.

For me, it's about lamenting the loss of innocence.

12 Comments


Suzanne said:

Just beautiful. It made me cry. I miss listening to you play. I remember being little and listening to you. Love you.

Beautiful. Love it. Thank you for sharing.

castorgirl said:

Thank you so much for sharing this Paul... absolutely beautiful. I now have a big smile on my face and it calmed the internal chaos to the point of being able to breathe freely...

shen said:

Absolutely, about lost childhood... something you and I know something about.

Ivory said:

Aaahhhhh. Loved it. I wish you'd make piano playing a regular part of your blog. It's very... uplifting! Thanks!

It's so helpful, reassuring and soothing for the little ones. I play it all the time together with your first song "Angel" :)

One Survivor said:

This is so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it. I remember this song from growing up.

You should put out a CD, if you have not already. You play beautifully. I love that you don't sound mechanical. You sound like you play with your heart and soul!

Paul Author Profile Page replied to One Survivor:

Thanks, everyone, for your wonderful comments. Being told that your music doesn't sound mechanical is pretty much the ultimate compliment for a musician. So, thanks!

gracie said:

Thank you. My father used to play that song for me on his piano back in the 1970s - the part of my father that I loved with all my heart, and still do.

I love this song! I sang it to my children when they were small. To me it's about the power of imagination and how sad it is when we give that up. It reminded me to hold onto that magic and to encourage my children to do so as well.

Marie said:

Hi, Paul -

When I was a young kid (6-7 years old), whenever we would sing this song in music class, I would cry and cry and cry -- big, ole' sobs. I didn't know why, the words were beyond my years, but the music touched me in a way that just tore up my soul.

The poor teacher . . . I guess she thought that, if we sang it over and over that eventually I'd quit crying over it. But, no. Eventually, she pulled it from our selection list.

Anyway -- I so love your gentle and healing touch on the piano. Anytime you want to bless us with a recording, I'm pleased . . .

- Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)

Paul Author Profile Page replied to Marie:

Thanks Marie. Yes, I have had similar experiences with breaking down hearing or playing songs, and not knowing why. In fact, I wrote that I used to play this song all the time for my girls. I really had no idea why. I didn't pay attention to the words, or maybe I just didn't understand them.

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This page contains a single entry published on September 30, 2009 1:57 PM.

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