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All songs words & music © Ed Pickford PRS/MCPS

When the Last Leaf Falls

If the world was run by dreamers what a great world this would be

For they give much more than schemers & they live for you and me

And I’ll tell you all a story of a lady and a leaf

It’s a tale of death & glory and how art once conquered grief

In a Greenwich Village studio in 1895

We can see a lady dying while she’s trying to survive

She has come from California on a zephyr’s gentle flight

Now she’s dying of pneumonia and has little strength to fight

Through a very large Dutch window-pane she sees a dying vine

It is clinging to a bare brick wall in depths of winter time

As the autumn leaves keep falling in the wild-wind’s pruning squalls

Well she heaves a sigh and she says she’ll die when the last leaf falls


When the last leaf falls - when the last leaf falls

Oh my hopes will die and my soul will fly

When the last leaf falls

In the room below our lady fair O. Henry lives his life

He is dreaming of the masterpiece he’ll paint with brush & knife

When he hears the strange prediction of the lady and the leaf

Well the muse stirs his conviction that his art can conquer grief

As the lady wakes by morning light a sight relieves her pain

For she sees a leaf survive the night - the last leaf to remain

And she thinks it is a masterpiece and knows she won’t decline

And she whispers, “now my soul’s at peace - I’ll live - that is the sign”

As the lady lived O. Henry died that night brought him release

And he died with brushes by his side - but left his masterpiece

For the leaf that graced the lady’s sight - he’d painted on a wall

Through a winter’s night by a lantern light - a leaf that would not fall


I will end this tale I now here tell as Aesop might have done

And the moral is to fight like hell until your race is run

When she painted the Bay of Naples the lady’s dream came true

And if you believe in fables Greenwich Village welcomes you