Old Ragged John

Tattered clothes all fluttering
Worn out voice still muttering
Ragged John comes knocking
At all the doors in town.
And when a door swings open
Then you can hear the hope in
The thin, cracked voice that wonders
If you've seen his unicorn.
And we all know John is crazy
And his mind has gone all hazy
And the only thing we really wish
Is that he just would let us be.
But John, he keeps on questing
And the poor man knows no resting
For there's something hurt within him.
And the pain won't go away.
I've heard when John was younger
He was taken with a hunger
To see the white-horned wonder
They call the unicorn.
But when that star-horned, moon-maned dancer
Finally called, John could not answer;
Fear held him like a prisoner,
And he watched it walk away.
So now empty-eyed John hobbles
Across the village cobbles,
And the only fear he feels is
It will never come again.
Oh, when I watch old Ragged John
Go staggering by and wandering on,
I know there's nothing sadder
Than a heart that feared its dreams.
If a unicorn should call to you
Some moon-mad night all washed in dew,
Then here's the prayer to whisper:
Grant me the heart to follow.
Beatrice Farrington