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Still Life

This song is by Van der Graaf Generator and appears on the album Still Life (1976) and on the live album Vital (1978) by Van der Graaf.

Citadel reverberates to a thousand voices, now dumb
What have we become?
What have we chosen to be?
Now, all history is reduced to the syllables of 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 negatives
But all the law we know
And death our 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, defecating
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 of make-believe
Marshal every sullen breath
And though you're ultimately bored by endless ecstasy
That'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

What is this dullest 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 even knowing it was there?

What chance now of holding fast the line
Defying death and time
When everything we had is gone?
Everything we laboured for and favoured more
Than earthly things reveals the hollow ring
Of false hope and of 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


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