Puff, the Magic Dragon Lyrics

This month is the 50th anniversary of the January 1963 release of Peter, Paul and Mary’s Puff, The Magic Dragon.

I was a Sophomore in high school.

How many of the lyrics do you remember from Puff, the Magic Dragon?

Dragon

Dragon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you think they are really talking about drugs?

Have you ever been to a Peter, Paul and Mary concert?

Did you go to hootenannies in high school or college?

Did you ever learn to play the guitar?

You can sing along with Peter, Paul and Mary, following the lyrics below, and pretend you’re back at a hootenanny, singing Puff, the Magic Dragon on this YouTube clip.

Puff, the Magic Dragon Lyrics

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 Puff’s gigantic tail,
Noble kings and princes would bow when e’er they came,
Pirate ships would lower their flags 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’s 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.

Going to a Hootenanny on a Blind Date

On a blind date with my now-husband, we stopped in at a hootenanny because he had a friend who was singing that night.

I’ve always loved folk music.

It’s easy to sing and typically idealistic.

We were surrounded by it in college in the 60s.

For about six months in college, I convinced myself I was going to learn how to play the guitar.

Twenty years later, when my awesome daughter-in-law said she wanted to learn how to play, I gave her my guitar.

Have You Ever Gone to A Live Peter, Paul and Mary Concert?

I’ve seen Peter, Paul and Mary sing, live, three times.

The first and third times were at concerts at Wolftrap, in Vienna, Virginia.

The second time was at a Costco.

As I rounded the corner, I heard the familiar strains of Peter, Paul and Mary.

And, it sounded like they were live, not from an overhead sound system.

Around the corner again, and, sure enough, they were helping to celebrate the opening of my local Costco.

It was like living in a dream.

I stayed as long as they sang.

The Drug Rumor

Most of my life, some have said that Puff, the Magic Dragon was about puffing on marijuana cigarettes.

The little boy, Jackie Paper, was supposed to be a thinly disguised reference to cigarette rolling paper.

I’ve never been in the drug culture.

But, Peter, Paul and Mary say it isn’t true and that’s good enough for me.

The lyrics came from a poem by Leonard Lipton, written when he was a 19-year-old student at Cornell in 1959, on Peter Yarrow’s typewriter.

Lipton said he was inspired by Ogden Nash’s poem, The Tale of Custard the Dragon, and the “realio, trulio, cowardly dragon.”

A few years later, when Yarrow set the poem to music, he found Lipton and gave him half the song-writing credits and shared the royalties.

I was surprised to learn Lipton wasn’t inspired by The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein, about a little boy who befriends a tree then abandons it when he grows up.

But, maybe it was the other way around.

The Giving Tree was published in 1964, a year after Puff, the Magic Dragon came out.

Now, my 7-year-old grandchildren remind me that children grow up to lead their own lives all too soon.

Thanks to metrolyrics.com for the Puff, the Magic Dragon lyrics

 

Where were you when you first learned Puff, the Magic Dragon?

Does it mean something different to you now?

Have your grandchildren heard the song?

To you and sharing your favorite music with your grandchildren.

 

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers

http://newgrandmas.com

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