This Prisoner

Words and music by James Livingston.  I wrote this “break-up poem” ten years ago as a song, as I was getting divorced.  Some of you have seen or heard it before.  I capo it at the 5th  or 6th fret because my voice works better there, but you can play it as you like.  

D                       C                                     G

These restless years have done their damage

Em                      C                                  D

Etched by your tears, they line your face.

D                      C                                 G

Your deepest fears have held you ransom,

G                   C                                D

Pay for this prisoner, he’s your slave,

Em                 C                                  G

Pray for this prisoner, end these days.

D                    C                           G

You want to catch that fallin’ sparrow,

Em                 C                        D

You want to put away your knife

D                       C                                 G

What will you say when you must answer?

G                  C                               D

Pay for this prisoner, end this strife,

Em                 C                               G

Pray for this prisoner, spare his life


                           C                                  G

Well you have seen what will come after,

                  C                              D

You have seen how much it takes

               C                              G

Is it the place they call hereafter?

               C                                        D

Is it the place where your heart breaks?

D                 C                        G

Your life is hangin’ in the balance,

Em                C                               D

Because the future’s come and gone

D                   C                           G

You cannot choose to be his captive:

G                  C                               D

Pay for this prisoner, head for home,

Em                    C                           G

Pray that this prisoner stays alone.

[Repeat chorus and verse 1]