I play the host

I play the host at a table spread
with the finest of things that the world has bled.
I always saw
that they'd claw for more,
but the joy I toy is their daily bread.

And now that I know they thieve and fight
in the shaded glades of the secret night,
come those who suppose
that I must distrust
such a wear and tear of our human right.

Alas I know what they find to steal
is the silver plate at a pirate's meal:
whilst I who try
to cost what's lost
forget the debt that the past must feel.

It's sad when men you regard as friends
deliver blows where you can't defend.
I need to feel
that each weal's unreal,
as I prance a dance that can never end.

As a limping visionary I'll remain,
for my feet are filled with a patchwork pain.
Yet I'm no' to show
that they broke each toe,
and I grope to hope that I'll walk again.

As I travel west, I shall greet each knave
with a candid smile and a friendly wave.
Though my sores are raw,
I shall walk the floor
of a stage whose wage is the peace I crave.

And though I know they may strike again,
they must never guess that I see them plain.
With eyes still kind,
I shall mind them blind -
through tears that appear in the rarest rain.

It's well to tell that there's none to blame,
for this life itself is a cheating game.
Though a guest may jest
at his tools, the fools,
the host must toast those who bring him pain.

Sheet music


Recorded 1973