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The Reader

Words and music copyright © 2000 by Blake Hodgetts


I am the reader of SF and fantasy,
     Sit down beside me, I'll tell you my tale
Far have I travelled and much have I chanced to see,
     Primed for adventure and setting full sail
For I've learned one truth, and there is no doubt,
You just can't stop reading until you see how it turns out,
     and then the dawn shall wake me,
     And then the dawn shall wake me,
And then the dawn shall wake me and carry me home.

I found a world in a globular cluster,
     A place where the suns never vanished from sight,
Watched as the natives naïvely discussed
     an approaching eclipse, with no knowledge of night
Till the hour arrives, and as the light runs
The sky is emblazoned by ten thousand mighty suns
     And so the nightfall takes me,
     And so the nightfall takes me,
Until the dawn shall wake me and carry me home.

There's an unfortunate team in Antarctica,
     Cursed with a visitor frozen in ice.
Three flaming eyes and with waving blue tentacles,
     Ugly as Gorgon and not quite as nice
And soon they found, by one, by two and by three,
That many among them were not what they seemed to be
     And who goes there shall take me,
     and who goes there shall fake me,
Until the dawn shall wake me and carry me home.

I've been to Xanth and to Pern and to Dune,
Sailed on the Space Beagle, mined on the Moon,
Listened as Gafka's folk fertilized fans with their tune...

Once did I meet with a grief-stricken pilot,
     A courier who carried a precious vaccine.
Tearful and tragic the tale that he told to me,
     All of a girl who had been just sixteen
When she'd stowed away on his tiny ship,
Heedless that there was but limited fuel for the trip,
     And those equations take me,
     Those cold equations shake me,
Until the dawn shall wake me and carry me home.

You may have heard of that young biochemist
     It seemed there was no puzzle he couldn't solve
Thanks to the people he called Neoterics
     Whom he had invented and caused to evolve
And who lived with him inside of a pen
he built on a table set up with a dome in his den.
     Oh, microcosmic god, take me,
     And microcosmically make me,
Until the dawn shall wake me and carry me home.

Ixchel and Vogon and Strider and Gleep,
Hurkle and Master and Scanner and Sheep,
These shall attend me as I drift away to my sleep...

A houseful of boarders were wrapped up in mystery,
     Nothing revealing of why they were there
Proved to be visiting moments in history,
     Touring through time with a nonchalant air
and they had no care for those who would die;
Off on vacation, to ancient Rome they must fly
     And vintage seasons take me,
     Those vintage seasons take me,
until the dawn shall wake me and carry me home.

Pity Lloyd Cavanaugh, met Happy Hooligan,
     Caused an egregious linguistic snafu.
Seems that humanity's played for the fool again,
     Swizzle-stick brain cells for me and for you,
And there's little hope for the power of speech,
When all you can say is "Koeeg voh'pa navih maleech"
     And Babel II shall take me
     Egz Momish Dee lesh gov ru
Agkush no powg lesh fov ru egz vetu ru jair.

I've purchased dragons at sidewalk bazaars,*
Found omnilingual citations on Mars,
Even met Rhysling who scattered his songs to the stars...

Now as I leave you, heed this invitational:
     Ye who would join me in singing this song,
While your home planet continues rotational,
     Sing out your travels in verse loud and long,
And your best-loved paths shall oft be rehearsed
And ever more lengthily shall be this melody versed
     Until the dawn shall wake me
     Until the dawn shall wake me
Until the dawn shall wake me and carry me home.


*Alternate:
I've seen men trapped inside large earthen jars,
Found omnilingual citations on Mars,
Befriended the beings who live on the surface of stars...