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The coffin, as you'd guess, was small
It didn't take much wood at all
The tiny body cleaned and simply clad
At the gravesite stood the prince
With unfamiliar diffidence
To pay respects to the father he never had

They closed his withered jaw
His story finally told
They packed his grave with straw
Bought with the last of his gold
And they say all he wanted was a son
While he was still alive
Rumplestiltzkin -- Dead at 95

The Queen told the Prince not to go
The Prince told her ”I had to know
Who was the man who wanted me as a child
I would have learned a useful trade
Not lived this palace promenade
With chaperones and guards who never smiled.”

The Queen turned to face the wall
Said, ”You don't understand at all
I was so young and had no place to turn.
I took advantage of his spell
And told the lies I had to tell
You've no idea what life will make you learn.”


Nobody pays
All of their debts
Everyone dies
With several regrets
The dwarf and the queen
And everyone in between

The letter ”R” was on the tomb
The carver said there wasn’t room
And noone knew just how to spell the name
The Prince looked on his would-be kin
He mourned the man he might have been
And cursed the man he finally became


song pic

There's a board on The Muse’s Muse where one can leave a title for someone else to write a rhyme on. Anywhere from 4-12 lines, usually. Someone put this title up and I feverishly wrote something a little too long.

It had the kernel of a real song in it, and I expanded it. There are parts of this lyric that feel rough, but it’s one of the best bridges I've written.

Recorded by Darryl Gregory of Blue Cave Studios, vocal by Lisa Murray

This lyric was *almost* published in a Usability Professionals magazine, in an issue devoted to aging. It was cut from the issue in the final edit due to the loss of some advertising pages. However, they left a mention of the lyric in the editor's note, so the online site had a correction pointing here. So people will still get to read it, and hear the song.

The song is appropriate for a discussion of aging, because it’s about how we all look backwards eventually.

crumpled paper