Under the Gripping Beast
Lyrics and melody © 1997 by Catherine Faber
For a journal bound in leather fine, as
soft as human skin,
A gripping beast embossed thereon and all the world
I bargained with a Power; I need scarcely mention who,
And should I keep it till my death, the standard fee falls
Under the gripping beast is
all the price I'll pay,
For I'm quits of all my bargain, if I throw the book
But for that pain of parting, there can be no balm, nor
For just an hour longer, I will hold to what I have.
I sat there, that first evening, the book
upon my knee.
I opened it, and held my breath, for fear of what I'd
The stuff of creativity, from Hell and Heaven wrung;
The ghosts of tales untested and of stories yet
As I read, my breathing raced to meet my
For scraps of songs and stories there were written in my
I turned to seize a pencil and my eyes were
I slept but half an hour, but I wrote three songs that
My songs and stories brought me joy,
honor they did win.
Without the book, I still would be an orphan looking in.
The thought that I must lose it is the sum of all my
"For just an hour longer" -- I have held it fifty
I've tasted of creation and the time
draws near to rest,
But I haven't finished writing, and the last must be the
I battle death by inches and too soon will know defeat
But I won't discard the book before my swansong is