Van Der Graaf Generator - Still Life 1976

  1. Pilgrims
  2. Still Life
  3. La Rossa
  4. My Room
  5. Childlike Faith in Childhood's End


    PILGRIMS

    Sometimes you feel so far away,
    distance from all the action of the play,
    unable to grasp signinficance,
    marking the plot with diffident dismay,
    standed at centre stage,
    scrabbling through your diary for a lost
    page: unsure of the dream.
    Kicking a stone across the beach,
    aching for love and comfort out of reach,
    the way ahead seems to be so bleak,
    there's no-one with any friendship left to
    speak or show you any relation
    between your present and future
    situation: lost to the dream.
    Away, away, away: look to the future day
    for hope, some form of peace within the
    growing storm.
    I climb through the evening,
    alive and believing:
    in time we shall all know our goals
    and so finally, home.
    For now all is secret -
    though how could I speak it,
    allow me the dream in my eye.
    I've been waiting for such a long time
    just to see it at last,
    all of the hands tightly clasped,
    all of us pilgrims.
    
    Walking in silence down the coast,
    merely to journy - here hope is the most;
    merely to know there is an end,
    all of us - lovers, brothers, sisters, friends
    hand in hand.
    Shining footprints on the wet sand
    lead to the dream.
    The time has come, the tide has almost
    run and drained the deep: I rise from 
    lifelong sleep.
    It seems such a long time
    I've dreamed but now, awake, I
    can see we are pilgrims and so
    must walk this road,
    unknown in our purpose,
    alone, but now worthless.
    and home ever calling us on.
    We've been waiting here so long,
    all of our hands joined in hope,
    holding the weight on the rope,
    all of us pilgrims.

    STILL LIFE

    Citadel rever berates to a thousand voices,
    now dumb;
    What have we become?
    What have we chosen to be?
    Now all history is reduced to the syllables 
    or our name -
    nothing can ever be the same:
    now the Immortals are here.
    At the time it seemed a reasonable course
    to harness all the force
    of life without the threat of death, but
    soon we found that boredom and inertia
    are not negative, but all the law we know,
    and dead are will and words like survival
    Arrival at immunity from all age, all fear
    and all end...
    why do I pretend?
    Our essence is distilled
    and all familiar taste is now drained
    and though purity is maintained
    it leaves us sterile, living through the
    millions of years,
    a laugh as close as any tear;
    living, if you claim that all
    that entails is breathing, eating,
    defacating, screwing, drinking, spewing,
    sleeping, sinking ever down and down
    and ultimately passing away time which
    no longer has any meaning.
    
    Take away the threat of death and all
    you're left with is a round
    if make-believe.
    Marshall every sullen breath and though
    you're ultimately bored by endless ectasy
    it's still the ring by which you hope to be
    engaged
    to marry the girl who will give you
    forever - it's crazy and plainly
    that simply is not enough.
    
    What is this dulles and bluntest of pains,
    such that my eyes never close without
    feeling it there?
    What abject despair demands an end to
    all things of infinity?
    If we have gained, how do we now meet
    the cost?
    What have we bargained, and what have
    we lost?
    What have we relinquished, never
    knowing it was thee?
    
    What thoughts now of holding fast the
    line, defying death and time?
    Everything we had is gone,
    everything we laboured for and favoured
    more that earthly things reveals 
    the hollow ring of false hope and
    false deliverance.
    
    But now the nuptial bed is made, the
    dowry has been paid:
    the toothless, haggard features of eternity
    now welcome me between the sheets
    to couple with her withered body -
    my wife.
    Hers forever,
    hers forever,
    hers forever,
    in still life.

    LA ROSSA

    Lacking sleep and food and vision
    here I am again, encamped upon you
    floor, craving sanctuary and
    nourishment, encouragement and
    sanctity and more.
    The streets seemed very crowded,
    I put on my bravest guide -
    I know you know that I am acting,
    I can see it in your eyes.
    In the harsh light of freedom I know
    that I cannot deny that I have wasted
    time, have frittered it away in idle boasts
    of my freedom and idelity, when simpler
    words would have profited the most...
     ... it isn't enough in the end, when I'm
    looking for hope.
    Through the organ-monkey screams as the
    pipes begin to spit
    still he'll go through the dance routines
    just as long as he thinks they'll fit,
    just as long as he knows that it's dance,
    smile - or quit.
    
    Like a monkey I dance to a strange tune
    when all of those years I've longed to lie
    with you but have bogged myself down in
    the web of talk, quack philosophy
    and sophistry -
    at physically I've always baulked, like the
    man in the chair who believes it's beyond
    him to walk.
    I've been hiding behind words,
    fearing a deeper flame exists,
    faintly aware of the passage
    of opportunities I have missed,
    Vut the nearness and the smell of you,
    La Rossa from head to toe...
    I don't know what I'm telling you,
    but I think you ought to know
    soon the dam wall will break, soon the
    water will flow.
    Though the organ-monkey groans
    as the organ-grinder plays
    he's hoping, at the most,
    for an end to the dancing days;
    still, he hops up and down on his perch
    in th usual jerky way.
    Though it might mean an end to all
    friendship there's something
    I'm working up to say.
    
    Think of me what you will;
    I know that you think you feel my pain-
    no matter if that's just the surface.
    If we made love now would that change
    all that has gone before?
    Of course it would, there's no way it could
    ever be the same...
    one more line crossed,
    one more mystery excplained.
    Now I need more than just words, though
    the options are plain that lead from all 
    momentary action.
    I we make love now it will change all that 
    is yeat to be...
    never could we agree in the same
    way again.
    One more world lost,
    one more heaven gained.
    
    Ls Rossa, you know me, you read me as
    though I am glass;
    though I know it there's no way in which I can pass -
    though it means that you'll finish my story 
    at last I'd trade all the clever talk,
    the joking, the smoking and the quips,
    all the midnight conversation, all the
    friendship, all the words and all the trips
    for the warmth of your body,
    the more vivid touch of your lips.
    All bridges burning behind me,
    all safety beyond reach,
    the monkey feels his chains out blindly,
    only to find himself released.
    Take me, take me now and hold me deep
    inside your ocean bodym
    wash me as some flotsam to the shore,
    there leave me lying evermore!
    Drown me, drown me now and hold me
    down before your naked hunger,
    burn me at the altar of the night - 
    give me life!

    MY ROOM

    (Waiting for Wonderland)
    Searching for diamonds in the sulphur
    mine, leaning on props which are rotten,
    hoping for anything, looking for a sign
    that I am not forgotten.
    Lost in a labyrinth of future mystery,
    tracing my steps, all mistaken,
    trusting to everything, praying it can be
    that I am not forsaken.
    
    I wait by the door, wondering
    when you will come and keep me warm.
    I pray for the end of the night,
    hoping the light will still the storm
    which presently betrays me;
    helpless sea-monster stranded on the
    shore, marooned in an ecstasy of waiting.
    I yearn, although knowing that I shall
    dive no more
    in the tide already racing
    
    My lungs burst to cry: "Finally
    how could you leave me here to die?
    I freeze in the chill of this place
    with no friendly face to smile goodbye -
    how could you let it happen?"
    
    How could you let it happen?
    Dreams, hopes and promises, fragments
    out of time;
    all of these things have been spoken;
    still you don't understand how it feels
    when I'm waiting for them to be broken.

    CHILDLIKE FAITH IN CHILDHOOD'S END

    Existence is a stage on which we pass, a
    sleep-walk trick for mind and heart:
    it's hopeless, I know,
    but onward I must go
    and try to make a start
    at seeing something more than day-to-day
    survival chased by final death.
    If I believed this the sum
    of the life to which we've come
    I wouldn't waste my breath.
    Somehow, there must be more.
    There was a time when more was felt than
    known,
    but now, entrenched inside my sett,
    in light more mundane, thought rattles
    round my brain;
    we live, we die... and yet?
    
    In the beginning there was order and
    destiny but now that path has reached the
    border and on our knees is no way to face
    the future, whatever it be.
    Though the forces which hold us in place
    last through eons in unruffled grace
    we, too, wear the face of creation
    
    As anti-matter sucks and pulses
    periodically the bud unfolds, the bloom
    is dead, all space is living history.
    It seems as though time must betray us,
    yet we're alive
    and though I see no God to save us still we
    survive
    through the centuries of progress
    which don't get us very far.
    All illusion! All is bogus - we don't yet
    know what we are... laughing, hoping
    praying, joking, Son of Man!
    With lowered eyes but lifting hearts,
    we're grains of sand
    and though, in time, the sea may claim us
    for its own
    we are the rocks which root the future - 
    on us it grows!
    
    We might not be there to share it if 
    eternity's a jest
    but I think that I can hear it
    if the next life is the best.
    Even if there is a heaven when we die
    endless bliss would be as meaningless
    as the lie that always comes as answer to
    the question 'Why do we see through the 
    eyes of creation?' 
    Adrift without a course, it's very lonely
    here, our only conjecture what lies
    behind the dark.
    Still, I find I can cling to a lifeline,
    think of a lifetime which means more than 
    my own one - dreams of a grander thing
    than we are,
    Time and Space hand heavy on my
    shoulders;
    when all life is over who can say
    no mutated force shall remain?
    Though the towers of the city are denied
    to we men of clay
    still we know we shall scale the heights
    some day.
    Frightened in the silence -
    frightened, but thinking very hard,
    let us make computation of the stars.
    
    Older, wiser, sadder, blinder, watch us
    run; faster, longer, harder, stronger, now
    it comes: colour blisters, image splinters
    gravitate towards the centre, in final
    splendour disintegrate.
    The universe now beckons
    and Man, too, must take His place...
    just a few last fleeting seconds
    to wander in the waste
    and the children who were ourselves
    move on
    reincarnation stills its now perfected song
    and at last we are freed of the bonds
    of creation.
    
    All the jokers and gaolers, all the junkies
    and slavers too,
    all the throng who have danced a merry    
    tune - human we can all be,
    but Humanity we must rise above
    in the name of all faith and hope and love.
    There's a time for all pilgrims, and a time
    for the fakers too,
    there's a time when we all will stand alone
    and nude;
    naked to the galaxies -
    naked, but clothed in the overview... as
    we reach Childhood's End we start anew.
    
    And though dark is the highway
    and the peak's distance breaks my heart,
    for I never shall see it, still I play my part,
    believing that what waits for us is the
    cosmos compared to the dust of the
    past...
    in the death of mere humans life shall
    start!


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Sergey Petrushanko hammillru@mail.ru, 1998-2017