The doorbell rang and the UPS man was already jumping in his truck to leave, by the time I picked the package up off my front porch. My Uncle Denis emailed the other day and asked for my address. I don’t remember ever getting anything through the mail from him before so I was intrigued.
Inside the box was a signed copy of the recently published book, Puff, the Magic Dragon.
I’m not sure how old you have to be to have Puff the Magic Dragon embedded in your soul, but Peter, Paul and Mary released the song in 1963, when I was two years old. It’s always been a part of my consciousness and even though it’s not a song I’ve heard very often over the years, it always brings me to tears.
Denis told me that when I was very little, they had to play that record for me over and over again.
There are a few fragments of memories I have where I remember being very small and singing that song. Most of the people who are a part of those memories are gone. My grandparents, my parents, my Uncle Phil and my grandmother’s
Who could not feel pain in his heart and get a little misty at the lyrics:
“One gray night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more,
And Puff, that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.”
Peter Yarrow, the author of the original poem that inspired the song says this:
"Puff has appeared to me both childlike and wise, a king but also a willing follower of just about any bright spirit that inspired him. Puff gives his whole heart and soul to one special friend, Jackie Paper. And though it is terribly painful when Jackie grows up and has to leave, Puff has given Jackie the strength and courage he needs to believe in himself when he goes back to the real world. "
Maybe we mourn for ourselves and our own loss of innocence when we hear this song. I suppose we do. I tried to think of another song that has the same emotional impact that Puff the Magic Dragon has, but I can’t come up with one.
Does hearing this song do this to everyone? If not Puff the Magic Dragon, is it another song, movie, poem or book that has become part of your emotional makeup?