Girl in the Garden

from For the Girl in the Garden by S. J. Tucker

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"Girl in the Garden" was written in the same week as "Mandolin Holy Man" and "Valkyrie Daughter" --as unlikely a trio as was ever sung-- for Catherynne M. Valente. Its birthing was the start of an album of songs and readings that celebrate her four-book fairy tale epic, The Orphan's Tales. Cat cried when I played it for her for the first time; I wrote it in the house where she was staying, not twenty-four hours after getting flat-out permission to write songs about any of her work. This was the first of hopefully many collaborations between the two of us, and I couldn't be happier with its simple, haunting beauty.


It's clear as tattoos on your eyes:
a story not heard in the bright palace light
can only be told as a secret of night.
The girl in the garden and I

From a Knife to a Lantern and back, back again,
she closes her eyes and weaves wonders.
They hang in the air, hold my breath like a hunter.
The girl in the garden and I

The stars in their courses will run
and bring their hearts earthward to hear her.
The boughs of the fruit trees bend nearer
to the girl in the garden...

The fear holds us both in its hand.
With every tale on my ear, it comes nearer the shore.
We both dread the day when the words fall away...
and a demon will judge her.
Then I fear that my dear will be gone.
Shed a tear for the girl in the garden,
for all of her years in the garden,
the girl in the garden and I.


from For the Girl in the Garden, released October 31, 2006


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S. J. Tucker Perry, Arkansas

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