Sic Itur Ad Astra

A filksong to the lyrics of “Angels We Have Heard on High” (public domain)

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Astronauts we watch up high,
Reaching for the stars their aim,
And the clouds beneath them hie
Reflecting their joyous strain:

Gloria, sic itur ad astra!
Gloria, sic itur ad astra!

Apollo 11 lunar footprint (NASA photo)

Science, why this scandalry?
Why your wondrous works denied?
We should all most gladly be
Inspired by your deserved pride.

Gloria, sic itur ad astra!
Gloria, sic itur ad astra!

STS089 (1998) — The Nullarbor Plain and the coastal escarpment rises abruptly to 500 feet above sea level. Photo credit: NASA

Watch and learn and strive and see
Denialism disavowed.
Come, adore on bended knee
How our lives are better now.

Gloria, sic itur ad astra!
Gloria, sic itur ad astra!

NASA photo

Across land and air and sea,
In and ’round and ‘bove the earth!
Our space age technology
Enhances our lives and worth.

Gloria, sic itur ad astra!
Gloria, sic itur ad astra!

©2024 Geoff Allshorn.

O little town of Bethlehem

Image by Brigitte make custom works from your photos, thanks a lot from Pixabay

O little town of Bethlehem
Engulfed in war and death!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The world draws bated breath.
For in your dark streets brimmeth
The ghosts of all those lost,
Our hopes and fears meet deafened ears
Your children are the cost.

The Christ story of ancient times
Is told anew today
While women search for birthing place
“No room” – they are turned away.
No mourning for the children
The lost of Gaza’s birth.
A massacre of innocents
No peace across the Earth.

The women of Afghanistan
Their hopes are a lost refrain.
The children dying in Yemen
or Sudan or the Ukraine.
No ear may hear their suffering
But in this world of choice,
Let humble folk rise up and fight,
And give others a Voice.

Our world is full of ancient yore
Of nobility and memes
And yet we see mass death and war
That seem to negate our dreams.
May we all find renewed hope
Real action, not blank stares.
Becoming our own answer to
Those yearned-for thoughts and prayers.

O hollow town of Bethlehem
Why do we ignore your plight,
While affluent folk everywhere
Share gifts only for one night?
They smile and bleat platitudes,
Proclaiming peace on Earth,
While others wail their silent cries
And die in shameful dearth.

Oh ancient tale of Bethlehem
You seem very far away,
Especially from Ugandan queers
Or trans folk in USA.
As we hear Christmas carols
May we please learn anew
The moral strengths attributed
One Palestinian Jew!*

*With thanks to Leunig (“Away in A Manger”, The Age, 15 December 2023) for the inspiration.

©2023 Geoff Allshorn

The Chairman of FFHC

To commemorate International Day of Charity (5 September).

A filk song to the tune of ‘When I Was A Lad‘ by Gilbert & Sullivan
from HMS Pinafore (Public domain),

Author’s note: This song was filked by me (before I even knew what filking was) about fifty years ago, when I was around twelve years old. My parents were among the Victorian leaders of a charity – which no longer exists (in Australia at least) – called the Freedom From Hunger Campaign (or FFHC). I made up this song to sing to myself as I walked from door to door soliciting donations at the ripe old age of twelve for the Australian FFHC Annual Doorknock. It is of course not intended to interfere in any way with any current overseas charities (if any exist) that might share the same name.

The Chairman of FFHC

1.

I’d read in the local rag
The week before
That today someone would come knocking
On my front door.
I moaned inwardly
and thought I’d have to pay
To get the silly doorknocker
To go away.

(Chorus): Yes, to get the silly doorknocker to go away.

I thought so little of charity
But now I am the Chairman of FFHC.

(Chorus): He thought so little of charity,
But now he is the Chairman of FFHC.

2.

Came a knock at the door
T’was a little boy
As I pulled out my cheque book
His face filled with joy.
As I wrote him a cheque
He laughed with glee,
And he handed me a receipt
Very jubilantly.

Chorus: Yes, he handed him a receipt
Very jubilantly.

His reaction so astounded me
That now I am the Chairman of FFHC.

Chorus: His reaction so astounded he
That now he is the Chairman of FFHC.

3.

So impressed was I,
That instantly I went
To a meeting
Of the Campaign’s Parliament.
I met them
And they met me,
They were the nicest people
That you ever did see.

Chorus: They were the nicest people
That you ever did see.

I so impressed them, and they me,
That now I am the Chairman of FFHC.

Chorus: He so impressed them, and they he,
That now he is the Chairman of FFHC.

4.

I became door-knocker
Then I wanted more,
Leading teams raising money
Trying to help the poor.
I learnt about world poverty
The human face
Of injustice on our planet
Here in outer space.

Chorus: Yes, injustice on our planet
Here in outer space.

I did so well, they rewarded me,
And I ended up as Chairman of FFHC.

Chorus: He did so well, they rewarded he,
And he ended up as Chairman of FFHC.

5.

So if you want to try
To help your world,
And see the mysteries
of love and joy unfurled.
And if you want to try to
Do what you can
To help reduce the sufferings
Of your fellow man.

Chorus: Yes, to help reduce the sufferings
Of your fellow man.

Give at the Doorknock generously
And you may end up as Chairman of FFHC.

Chorus: Give at the Doorknock generously
And you may end up as Chairman of FFHC.

Author’s Note: Yes, the lyrics are juvenile, and yes the outdated technology (cheque books and Doorknocks) place this in a certain time period (early 1970s). And yes, the ‘little boy’ in the song (and the singer) is probably me. Such were attempts in this song to recapture the parody and satire that were rich within the original Gilbert and Sullivan production. Parly-a-ment anyone?

I include this song here because it shows – perhaps – how influences in our youth can have a lasting effect. Anyone who knows me in my sixties now would agree that humanitarian causes remain a strong passion for me. So does stepping up to meet a need (as encapsulated in this song) – and (in a parallel universe) filking and other fan activity within the world of science fiction which I was shortly to discover at age twelve. (Some years later, I dedicated an SF fanzine to FFHC as a gesture of moral support – see the photo at the top of this blog article).

I hope you can enjoy this song, or understand it at least – and maybe forgive my indulgence.

©2023 Geoff Allshorn

Soon May the Enterprise Come

A space shanty filked from “The Wellerman” (1860s) and in the public domain.

Image by p2722754 from Pixabay

In memory of my friend Carol Ashcroft
(26/7/1944 – 20/8/2022).

There once was a ship called Enterprise
That flew across galactic skies.
She took with her the hopes and dreams
Of all humanity.
Soon may the Enterprise come
To bring us some inspiration
One day, when we’ve finally grown
We’ll join Starfleet and fly.

Before our world had reached the skies
Great wars and great poverty caused great cries
We lived in the mud and shed great blood
Until we grew beyond.
Soon may the Enterprise come
To bring us some inspiration
One day, when we’ve finally grown
We’ll join Starfleet and fly.

From selfishness we have been freed
Our human mind must not serve greed
For we belong to the sentient’s creed
To live, to serve, to share.
Soon may the Enterprise come
To bring us some inspiration
One day, when we’ve finally grown
We’ll join Starfleet and fly.

And still we continue our journey on
The fight’s not ended and the pain’s not gone
The Enterprise makes her regular call
To help us make starfall.
Soon may the Enterprise come
To bring us some inspiration
One day, when we’ve finally grown
We’ll join Starfleet and fly.

©2022 Geoff Allshorn