The Man Who Would Speak True

I had lover her name was Grace
She found me down in a lonely place
She dug me out with an old jaw bone
She dressed me up for to take me home
She fed me words that I could not taste
For I had no tongue it had been replaced
By a green and a growing flower which grew
And I knew if I ever spoke I would speak true

We lived together in an old hotel
A broke down palace with a wishing well
The neighbor girl taught me how to spell
And how to steal what I could not sell
But I fed my tongue on the Devil’s rum
In a roadhouse run by godless bum
On a drunken night with a stolen gun
I shot my lover as she made to run
The judge said, “Son, what’ve you done?”
But I didn’t speak a word, no I didn’t speak one
And the judge sent me away
And they buried my Grace, yeah the very next day

They sent me out on a midnight train
In the rain rolling down through the dusty plain
Four men sitting with an old shotgun
Silver stars pinned on every one
They busted my mouth for to get at my tongue
To see just how this had all begun
So I opened my mouth like a dragon’s breath
I only spoke truth but it only brought death
And I laid those boys to rest
For the truth, in truth, is a terrible jest

For there ain’t no road but the road to home
There ain’t no crops but the ones you’ve sewn
And if you learn one thing from me
You better guard your tongue like your enemy

I came to ground in a one horse town
On the western rim where the sun go down
Where a branded man might start again
For to right his wrong for to lose his sin
But my tongue kept growing it would not cease
I grew quite weary couldn’t get no release
So I went to the magistrate to turn myself in
Picked up a shovel and he made the grin
And they planted me by the sea
Now the birds of the air make nests on me