You've had a rough journey; a hellish long day; There's a fire in your throat and an ache in your head And you long to be back in your own cozy bed. But the world you grew up in has vanished away. You're weary and sick and you're frightened by change When something wraps 'round you like a swirl of warm air For there's no place as comforting, gentle, or strange As the mind of the Middle-Sized Bear.
For the Middle-Sized Bear is a creature most rare He'll feed you on honey and tea in his lair And you don't think you trust him, but maybe you'll dare Have a talk with the Middle-Sized Bear.
He's clumsy, forgetful, ill-tempered, and shy; There's dust on his spectacles, gray in his fur; Sometimes he growls when you think that he'd purr, But he holds you so gently and just lets you cry. He says he's not clever, but sometimes he's wise, Sometimes he's so silent you can't tell he's there And he quietly kisses the tears from your eyes As you sit with the Middle-Sized Bear.
For the Middle-Sized Bear is a creature most rare He'll sing you a song as he brushes your hair And they say it's a comfort just knowing he's there As you talk with the Middle-Sized Bear.
There's a line in his journal that pierces your mask Though he says at the time that he's probably wrong; But he sums up your fears in a few lines of song, And answers a question you never would ask. A letter, a message, a voice on the phone, A scrap of a song coming out of thin air. Perhaps it's enough to know you're not alone As you talk with the Middle-Sized Bear.
For the Middle-Sized Bear is a creature most rare He knows you don't love him, but he doesn't care And you think you could trust him, if only you'd dare Have a talk with the Middle-sized Bear.
The Middle-Sized Bear is a character out of science fiction: the section ``Conversation With the Middle-Sized Bear'' in Cordwainer Smith's novella, Mark Elf. For several years I've used it to refer to the aspect of my personality that is, so people have told me, comforting to talk to and be around.
This song is very much a composite; the first verse is almost entirely out of Cordwainer Smith; the last two are more about the women in my life who have encountered the Middle-Sized Bear over the last year. It's a little unusual in being largely autobiographical but in the second and third person, so that it's singable by anyone.
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