The Puppet Has Cut His Strings

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They pulled the stars down one by one
Hauled up the moon to shine upon
A velvet curtain rising
Now her puppet has cut his strings

The footlights glare
The trumpets blare
Why is your face drawn on so glum, old chum
Paintbrush dragging on a drum
The rimshot on the punchline that you fumbled
The crowd went home and left you
For dead
My old woodenhead
Took the thimble and the thread
Choked back tears like a cymbal

The breath is slow and shallow too
The sky is bright Venetian blue
The cardboard sun is all ablaze
The air is painted Clifford Brown
Caressing "Yesterdays"
The steady gaze of your glass eye
Head in a basket smiling still
Free of will, free of wisdom

Can't feel my fingers anymore
Can't raise my hand and ask for more
Dance my doll across the floor
Or fire a flag from a pistol
("Bang")

They pulled the stars down one by one
Hauled up the moon to wish upon
The puppet finally cut his strings
And free at last from earthly things
He's dancing on the ceiling
With a showgirl in a feather dress
Time is meaningless

We carried you on buckled limbs
Through mournful airs and martyrs hymns
Then one blue and one more yellow pill
One keeps you quiet
One keeps you still
You sang "The Way You Looked Tonight"
Your voice is ringing true and clear
Then you wore them down like candlelight

And in the darkness
You'd best beware
And in the darkness
You'd best beware
You'd best beware
You'd best beware
I used to love him
When I used to care
Canopy
Satin trim
Slowly closing
The puppet has cut his strings

The Puppet Has Cut His Strings
Written byElvis Costello, Ahmir Thompson, Ray Angry
Performed byElvis Costello and The Roots
Produced byElvis Costello, Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, Steven Mandel and Ray Angry
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals
Ray Angry - piano
Pino Palladino - bass
?uestlove - drums
AlbumsWise Up Ghost (Deluxe Edition), 2013
Length4:57

First known performance:
November 4, 2013, Englewood, NJ
Last known performance:
July 17, 2014, Bexhill-on-Sea, England
     (9 known performances)


Alternate versions

The Puppet Has Cut His Strings (Karriem Riggins Beat Interlude)
Performed byElvis Costello and The Roots
Remix Produced byKarriem Riggins
AlbumsWise Up: Thought, 2013
Length0:50

Wise Up GhostWise Up Ghost album cover.jpg

Wise Up: ThoughtWise Up Thought Remixes & Reworks album cover.jpg


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