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Papa won't leave you, Henry
Papa won't leave you, Boy
Papa won't leave you, Henry
Papa won't leave you, Boy
Well, the road is long
And the road is hard
And many fall by the side
But Papa won't leave you, Henry
So there ain't no need to cry

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds from Henry's Dream (1992, track one)

The chorus of the song was what was once part of a lullaby to his son Luke. It is the promise not only of not leaving him but of the difficulty it will be keeping that promise. The verses expand on that notion, showing a protagonist that is surrounded by often senseless horror and violence (some of his own doing), guilt, shame, rage. It is a road that is partly thrust upon and partly chosen by the father and one that just might make it impossible to keep his apparently genuine intention not to abandon his son.

Written near the time when he lived in Brazil, the fourth verse ("it's the rainy season") reflects actual realities and events from during that period. Crime, disasters, unrest, anencephaly: "Babies are even 'being born without brains,' an actual occurrance in Cubital, Brazil, which once enjoyed the distinction of being the most polluted city on earth" (Ian Johnson, Bad Seed: the biography of Nick Cave).

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