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The Night the Pugilist Learned How to Dance

This song is by Sting and appears on the album The Last Ship (2013).

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In the streets around here
There was nobody tougher than me
I was quick with me fists
And fast with me footwork
As you can plainly see
But while fighting was useful
For getting your way
Among the toughs of the town
Where you could hold sway
There had to be something
That was better than this
I was fifteen years old
And I'd never been kissed

Well of course she'd ignore me
Her friends would all sneer
At me bloody nose dripping
And me cauliflower ear
For it's hard to convince
In a romantic pose
With a lovely black eye
And a broken nose
Where a girl is attracted
To skills more refined
Than the pugilist's art
And so I inclined
To take meself serious
As a modern romancer
And I secretly learnt
All the moves of a dancer

Ye swing to the left
Ye swing to the right
Keep your eyes on your partner
More or less like a fight
Ye just follow the rhythm
And ye keep to the beat
The important thing's
Never to look at your feet
Then a miracle happens
Your mind's in a trance
Though the strategy's subtle
Retreat and advance
It's all about attitude
All in your stance
Attention to detail
Leaving nothing to chance
Which explains how the pugilist
Finally learned how to dance

Well I'd waltz with a broomstick
And if I was caught
I'd pretend I was sweeping
Or practicing sport
But I really had eyes
For your mother ye see
Wanting her to acknowledge
This new version of me
But now everyone's watching
Expecting I'll fail
But there's fire in me belly
There's wind in me sails
I knew it was risky
And I was taking a chance
I couldn't retreat now
I had to advance

So I swing to the left
I swing to the right
Keep me eyes on me partner
Like I would in a fight
I just keep to the rhythm
And follow the beat
The important thing's
Never to look at your feet
But a miracle's happened
And your mind's in a trance
They're all laughing and cheering
And looking askance
On the night that the pugilist
Finally learned how to dance

It's a three-minute round
And you're back in your corner
You're licking your wounds
Just like little Jack Horner
Don't let your guard down
Try a jab with your right
Or you're losing on points
By the end of the night
Then a miracle happens
And everyone's screaming
You're pinching yourself
Just in case you're still dreaming
You've taken the initiative
You've taken your chance
It's the night when this pugilist
Finally learned how to dance

In a bout where the strategist's
Bridges were burned
Where it seemed that his fortune
Had suddenly turned
'Twas the night that this scrapper
Was suddenly dapper
And this poor fellow's heart
Was still going like the clappers
The night that the pugilist
Finally learned how to dance

Written by:

Sting