mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of (lyrics and notes) (ogg)

Once my friends and I  read science fiction tales
We dreamed of space, and rockets to the moon.
Some day we'd live to walk upon the planets;
The future, oh it couldn't come too soon.

Now it's long past the time we called the future
And still we carry on from day to day
The wonders of tomorrow still elude us;
Reality keeps getting in the way.

    And the starlit crystal spires along the Grand Canal,
    The cloudlight on the warm Venusian sea,
    Have vanished, like the stuff that dreams are made of;
    The future isn't like it used to be.

We watched as gallant men  rode thunder to the sky
Our probes brought distant planets into view:
The dry and cratered plains of Mars and Venus---
Some dreams were dead before they could come true.

The Saturn Five once carried spacemen moonward
We've lost the plans to build her kind again
Bureaucracy and budgets dragged her under
Her launching pad stands rusting in the rain.


    refrain

The century's last year  was safely far away
We'd have machines that talked with us, and more.
We never knew the challenge we'd be facing
Was code we keypunched forty years before.

Atomic powered rockets were a pipe-dream;
Most cities still burn coal to chase the dark.
The monorail that once ran to the spaceport
Takes children to an outing in the park.


    refrain

The future that we lost is still someplace out there 
Orion still rides hellfire toward the blue,
And rockets proudly land upon their tailfins,
As God and Robert Heinlein meant them to.

Yes, someplace there are old fans who remember
The way the future was when we were young,
And when the chains of space and time slip from me
I'll be part of the song that once was sung.

    And I'll share a song with Rhysling,
       beside the Grand Canal,
    Ride lightsails on the endless starry sea
    When I've become the stuff that dreams 
      are made of
    In the future of my childrens' memory.

Date: 2007-01-10 05:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bercilakslady.livejournal.com
This is lovely, Steve.

Date: 2007-01-10 07:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mdlbear.livejournal.com
Thank you!

I wrote it for my Dad, and sang it for him on my last, visit about two months before he died.

Date: 2007-01-10 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cflute.livejournal.com
We performed this, this past weekend. I think it was Saturday night, and I think that [livejournal.com profile] tnatj was still in the room when we did...

Date: 2007-01-11 01:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mdlbear.livejournal.com
I'm pretty sure he was. And it was Saturday -- I just checked my post. Realtime blogging is a good idea, when I remember to do it.

Date: 2007-01-10 06:16 pm (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (newspace)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
Lightsails are really close now, and Twin Ion Engines are in engineering for a launch inside a decade; and while the Saturn 5's are trapped in the 20th Century, Burt and Dick and Mike and Brian, old men but not at heart, are still hard at work on getting us back to orbit and beyond...

The torch is passed, in many ways; it is up to us to carry it well for those who have come before, and for those yet to come.

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