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Pluto, or The Old God Laments

Words and Music © 2006 by Tom Smith
Released under a Creative Commons Noncommercial ShareAlike license
In August 2006 , with great fanfare and foofrah, one of our planets was downgraded.

Pluto, discovered in 1930, has always been, like its divine namesake, The One Not Much Talked About. Small, quirky, eccentric, the last one picked for softball games. People kept trying to find a tenth planet, Planet X, as if Pluto somehow didn't deserve to be the most far-flung member of our solar system. Naming the dog after him didn't help.

Thing is, Pluto was the one ancient god everyone had to face. Not necessarily the most important, nor the most powerful... but the final one, the one who watched over you after you died. He commanded respect simply for that.

As I was getting the arrangement ready for this song, a note of serendipity struck: August 28 is believed to be the date in 474 A.D. when Emperor Romulus Augustulus was deposed by barbarians, bringing to an end the Western Roman Empire. I posted it on August 30.

I was tall
I was great
And my fall has been dis-
Turbing as of late
Now I'm bent
Now I'm broke
And they speak of me as
If I were a joke

I was cold
I was strong
I was feared as if the
Work I do was wrong
Now I'm old
Now I'm grey
Now I find I miss the
Distant light of day

In my prime,
I stole the spring from the summer,
In my time,
I passed judgment with a will
But barbarians
Threw down my temples,
And they keep
On doing it still.

I was Death
Dark and proud
Hardly ever speaking,
Never speaking loud,
I was Lord,
It was true,
I received the mortals'
Tribute as my due.

I was blind
I was vain
I stood by and watched
Our influence wane
Now we're dust
Now we're bones
Living only as the
Names of cosmic stones.

A god's life
Depends on his worship,
Without worship,
There can be no god,
And although my
Time is long ended,
I still am
Remembered -- how odd.

Though I'm shrunk
I have power
And not one of you can
Name my final hour
Without warmth,
Without friend,
Without anything, just
Waiting for the end.

I've no fight,
No great cause,
I've no fantasy I'll
Be what I once was,
Still I rule
People look at me and
Wonder what's beyond
And as long as you keep looking...
I'll go on.

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