“Little Man Jamie”: New Draft

 1. Well, Jamie was born number nine of out ten
Sis took one look, said, “Ma, try that again.”
Daddy said nothing–no, nothing at all
But went out a brought home a goat so small
A little black goat for his Jamie

2. So James had his hat and his grin and his goat
Shoes made of rags and a sheepskin coat
When Jamie was glad, he could sing all day long
And when he was sad he would sing this song
A secret song only for Jamie


“Little Man Jamie,
Won’t you come to the stars?
I’ve got a home there
And it’s bound to be yours
Little Man Jamie,
Won’t you fly and be free?”
Says no one in the world to our Jamie

3. Our James wasn’t able to work in the mines
We tried him at the colliery, but he sang all the time
We told him to sort out the coal from the rocks
But Jamie, he turned them to building blocks
A tower of coal for our Jamie

4. James tried to tell us: “Oh, it’s good to be me!
“See, my heart is a hive for the honeybee!”
Daddy strained and he strained to make sense of those words
Like the babbling of brooks, or the chirping of birds
He chirped like bird, did our Jamie


5. One day came a stranger to Candletown
His face was a mask and his smile was a frown
He played on his pipe, oh a sweet dancing tune
And all of the children danced out of the room
All of us danced except Jamie

6. Our Jamie jumped up and he cried, “Me! Me!”
But the man laughed and said, “None so daft as thee.”
Oh, he played and we danced and our eyes grew dim
He carried us off, but he didn’t take him–
He didn’t take with him our Jamie


7. Jamie, he wailed, little Jamie he cried
Curled up with his goat, wouldn’t go back inside
Oh, his sisters and brothers, we left him behind
To sleep in that ship made of silver so fine
To dream and forget our dear Jamie

8. Daddy came out and he sat at his feet
Didn’t say nothing, but he said it so sweet
Gathered his son up, pet goat and all
And walked him on down to that ship so tall
A silver ship all for his Jamie


9. Went up to the stranger who watched from his mask
He said, “I am your man if you do as I ask
The strength of my body, the sap of my bone
Yours to devour if you give him a home
A home in the stars for our Jamie.”

10. “He’s not worth my trouble,” that pied piper sneered
“Nor hath he half the wisdom to be afeared
He raiseth his arms when it’s low he should bow
I bare all my teeth and he grins even now
So why should I take thy Daft Jamie?”


11. Dad stood his height, and it reached to the sky
And he looked the fiend right in his deep yellow eye
He said, “Sir, I’ve got nothing to stake but my life
You’ve taken my children, I’ve lost my dear wife
And now I must part with my Jamie.

12. “You may be as rich and as shrewd as a king
My boy wants so little and he loves everything
You may be as mighty and deep as the sea
But Jamie’s worth twenty-one thousand of thee.
You don’t know the worth of my Jamie.”


13. The man in the suit took his pen, made a mark
And his yellow eyes flashed like a lantern in the dark
“Say your goodbyes then, and kiss ere you part–
For I’ll take your lad, then I’ll eat up your heart.
You bargained your heart for Daft Jamie.”

14. Daddy said, “James, oh my sweet little man
Go on, do your best now, as only you can
I’m sick and I’m old and I’ve not much to give
But a chance at the sky, and a long life to live
You’ll live in the stars now, my Jamie


15. Jamie awakes in a new silver coat
Nibbled and frayed by his silver-eyed goat
He sings to the walls, they ring back like bells
He dances while everyone else broods and dwells
There’s no one as glad as our Jamie

16. And it’s good to reflect in this unending dark
There are things worth the weight of a whole human heart
O my sisters, my brothers, come rise to that call
We’ll tear out our chains from this high silver wall
And follow the song of our Jamie

Little Man Jamie,
Won’t you come to the stars?
I’ve got a home there
And it’s bound to be yours
Little Man Jamie,
Won’t you fly and be free?
“I’ll fly wide and high,” sings our Jamie

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