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Ribbons Undone

Lyrics by Tori Amos

She's a girl
rising from a shell
running to Spring
It is her time it is her time
Watch her run with Ribbons undone

she's a rose in a Lily's cloak
she can hide her charms
Is it her right there will be time
to chase the sun with Ribbons undone

she runs like a fire does
just picking up daises
Comes in for a landing
a pure flash of lightening
Past alice blue blossoms
you follow her laughter
And then she'll surprise you
arms filled with lavender

Yes, my little pony is growing up fast
she corrects me and says
"you mean a thoroughbred"
A look in her eye says the Battle's beginning
From school she comes home and cries
I don't want to grow up Mom at least not tonight

you're a girl
Rising from a shell
Running through Spring
with Summer's hand in reach now
It is your time It is your time
so just run with Ribbons undone
It is your time yes my angel
It is your time
so just run with Ribbons undone
run run darlin'
Ribbons undone


On February 4, 1996, Tori performed Doughnut Song on Modern Rock Live in New York City. She did an improvised intro to the song that had lyrics similar to some in Ribbons Undone, which was released nine years later. [download]


She’s just a pony
growing up fast
she’s just a pony
thought she was a thoroughbred
She’s just a pony
growing up fast
well, she’s just a pony, they say
thought she was a thoroughbred...

Tori Quotes

A moment with Tash:
"Mummy, can I draw a picture?"
"Of course, sweetheart."
"I want to use your colored pencils, though."
"That's fine, let me get them for you."
"That's okay, that's okay, I'll get them."
"I'm going to have a sip of my green tea then."
"Let me pour it for you, Mummy."
"Okay, sweetheart, but the teapot is made of porcelain, so it can break if it gets dropped, so can you use both hands?"
"Porcelain doesn't break if it drops on the couch in the living room."
"Well, if porcelain teapot drops on the porcelain teacup on the couch, then the teapot and the cup can have a crash, thereby breaking them both."
"Look, this water bottle is not porcelain. This is plastic, Mummy. Watch it drop."
So the water bottle quickly drops to the floor, and luckily I had put the lid on tightly.
"Mummy, look! These colored pencils are flowers and this flag protects mummies but not daddies."
Tash has picked up a British flag that had been bought for the football festivities before, of course, England was out of the quarterfinals of Euro 2004. She starts waving what she calls her wand and says, "I'm the fairy, but not the alien fairy. I'm good to mummies and I have these flowers, look. But the alien fairies like black, so I'm going to give them a black flower."
Then Tash proceeds to pull out a black-colored pencil, which had gotten into my colored-pencil flower arrangement.
"Mummies don't mind black flowers."
"Mommies don't mind black flowers."
"No, but the alien fairies really, really, really need black flowers, because it's dark." "What's dark?"
"Where the aliens come from. They come from where there are twinkles in the sky."
"You were a twinkle in the sky."
"No, that was Natashya, I am the fairy. Here, look. Here's your microphone."
At that announcement I'm surprised, because when she's not Natashya she likes to be this creature she's invented called "Alice Lily Horsey Ribbons," which has woven itself into "Ribbons Undone." I did not use those words in that order, but used and referenced them nonetheless, mainly to capture Tash's spirit. Tash picks up a little tiny flashlight that Mark uses to see gear at the mixing desk during a live show. I start singing a silly song and Tash says -- excuse me, the fairy says, "Sing properly. The show is about ready to start."
So quickly my brain is trying to come up with a proper song at seven-fifteen in the morning, pre-kindergarten. And one of the new songs for the album pops into my head, maybe because it has the word porcelain in it. So I proceed to sing the song properly and Tash is doing the lights for the performance.
I finish the song and Tash says, "When I was a twinkle in the sky, I wanted you to marry my daddy. And I told you so, didn't I?"
"I guess you did."
"And you heard me, didn't you?"
"I guess I did."
"You were going to marry another boy, weren't you?"
"I don't know if marry is accurate, but I had other boyfriends, yes."
"But your last boyfriend was not my daddy, was it?"
"No, you're right. My last boyfriend was the last boyfriend I ever had because then I was with your daddy."
"But I did not want your boyfriend to be my daddy."
"Well, my last boyfriend was very nice."
"But he was not my daddy! And I told you that when I was a twinkle in the sky. And I picked Daddy for you, Mummy, because I love you."
At that juncture, the postman is at the door and Tash's daddy has just walked in from working out. The postman says, "You won't be needing that flag, deary. The football team all had to go home because they lost."
The postman and Tash's daddy have a bit of knowing giggle and the postman says, "We all have to move on, so you won't need that flag, deary."
Tash looks up, waving her flag wand, and looks at the postman and says, "This flag protects mummies, not daddies, from the alien fairies."
And at that moment, it was crystal clear that Tash was the one who obviously had "moved on." [Tori Amos: Piece by Piece]

Live Versions

"Ribbons Undone"
April 10, 2005 - Hartford, Connecticut

"Ribbons Undone"
November 17, 2009 - Sydney, Australia

improv / "Ribbons Undone"
October 3, 2012 - London, England

improv / "Ribbons Undone"
April 29, 2014 - New York, New York

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