Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Gan Ainm



I wrote the first two verses of this song last Saturday. Confusion up in Warren, Michigan is a very nice little science fiction convention. Usually I write quite a few songs in preparation for that con, but this year I kinda wimped out. But Saturday night, the idea for the song suddenly crystallized. I spent 45 minutes or so writing the dang thing, then went downstairs to the filksing. As I sat there, I decided I didn't like what I'd written, so I scrapped everything but the chorus and started over. In a half hour or so, I was done, so I sang the thing to a good reception. It crossed my mind that usually I would have had three verses for the thing, but somehow, it didn't seem to need a third verse. I'd said all that had to be said. And anyway, the song would only be of minor interest after the shuttle mission was over; I'd probably never sing it again.



I wish I'd been right. I so wish I'd been right.



Last night, I posted this song to rec.music.filk. "Now it needs a third verse," I said. I wasn't really looking forward to writing one, so I was glad that Joe Ellis stepped in. He hoped it didn't seem presumptuous and apologized for any spelling errors, as his 'usual spellchecker' was 'a bit blurred'. *sad smile* Filkers are special people, aren't they?



Anyway, this is slightly edited from the original posting, mostly to adjust matters of fact (his name was _Ginz_!) and scansion (it scans the way _I_ sing it!). I'll have to ask Joe if my corrections work for him, of course. I've also thought of a title, so it's not really 'gan ainm' (without name -- a popular Irish song title). I actually think the disconnection of the structure is a nice parallel to the sudden change in the mission, and thus makes the song stronger.



Petr and Ilan

Lyrics: Maureen S. O'Brien and Joe Ellis (1/25-2/1/03)

Music: Maureen S. O'Brien



You bought the rocket magazines down at the store,

And you loved to draw pictures of far worlds beyond your war.

I remember being fourteen, and staring at the stars,

And dreaming of the day when they'd be new suns of ours.

But you were born in Poland, so now you are a wraith,

While I was born to fly a jet and keep our people safe.

But as my duty takes me to the silent halls of space,

I bring your lunar landscape and the mem'ry of your face.



CH 1:

And I will fly

Above the sky

Carrying the pencilmarks of dreams

And I will soar

With dreams like yours

Where the Moon's a toy, the stars a calling gleam,

Remembering.



They tattooed you a number and they planned to kill you soon,

But you were Petr Ginz. You drew the mountains of the Moon,

Where Earth rose like a classroom globe over too-tall stony towers.

And it isn't fair they killed you, for you would've loved those hours

When we saw that one small step, or Earth all cotton-balled in cloud,

Or the nation that I fly for, with her people free and proud.

But as my duty takes me to the silent halls of space,

I bring your lunar landscape and the mem'ry of your face.

CH:



Now our mission here is finished, it's time to pack our things for home.

Dear Petr, how I've thought of you as through the sky we've roamed.

I touch once more the paper with your dreams inscribed in lead,

As Columbia drops from orbit, "We're coming home!" runs through my head.

A sudden crack from our left side snaps our eyes around to see -

We all taste fear; through brilliant light a boy's hand touches me.

"Ilan, come... and bring the rest. You're coming home, that's true,

Though not to Earth."; I take his hand, and Petr guides us through.



CH 2:

And now we fly

Above the sky

Carrying the pencilmarks of dreams

We all must soar

In space once more

Where the Moon's a toy, the stars a calling gleam

Remembering.

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