I Vow To Thee, My Neighbors

This work is informed by my work for CommonPlace in Clarkston, GA, which attempts to increase neighborliness, by providing a locality-based social-networking website.

It follows the order of the seven movements of 'The Planets', by Gustav Holst, from which the titles of each verse are drawn.

All the verses fit the metric structure of Thaxted, by Gustav Holst. However, it might be much more interesting musically if each verse varied somewhat, and 'sponged'1 from the corresponding movement of 'The Planets'.

Spoken word version, by Larry Gates

I Vow To Thee, My Neighbors

(Mars: The Bringer of War)

My home is my castle, no one enters 'thout my leave,
Now Tom and Dick and Harry, even brother-in-law Steve,
Can come watch some football, put some burgers on the grill,
As for all those homes around me, well I mean them no ill-will,
But I have my friends and family, my work and activity,
I've no time for noisy neighbors, no need of community.

(Venus: The Bringer of Peace)

We people are social beings2, at the mall, the pub, the well,
Sharing food and news and good times, in the stories that we tell.
Trustworthy, the first virtue, our wealth our social trust,
The path to peace is governed, by the triumph of the just
We learn from those we love, without love we're just confused,
O, with another, with a purpose, with a vision, to be fused.

(Mercury: The Winged Messenger)

In my house I'm very lonely, I have all the stuff3 I need.
Yet my soul longs for comp'ny, my heart has gone to seed.
Packed my stuff up in Biloxi, left in boxes in L.A.
Put in storage in Seattle, now I'm here in Tampa Bay.
I've lived in many places, it's a common tune I strum,
I've chased such greener pastures, I know not where I'm from.

(Jupiter: The Bringer of Joy)

"The earth is but one country"4, all mankind one family
Scattered, weary, but not broken, longing for our unity
Yellow sands and verdant forests, the magenta leaves of fall
Snow capped peaks and meandering rivers, there is plenty for all
One blue earth, warm and lovely, in the immensity of space
May that love make us all ready to share our common place.

(Saturn: The Bringer of Old Age)

If fear would chose a color5, what would be its hue?
Perhaps yellow, maybe red, or black, or white or blue.
Yellow-bellied, yellow peril, yellow fever, yellow hair.
The Red menace, the red savage, the right light on the square.
Black of night, wolves are howling, my brother lynched by sheets of white
Blue of sadness, fear of living, fear of early morning light.

(Uranus: The Magician)6

"In God we trust"7 our motto, let us live large as one
"I'm not fearing any man"8, seeing the Kingdom come
Liberty is our watchword, "free at last"9 our joyous cry
Potent Law of Laws10, welcome maxim to live by
E pluribus unum11, from many one, 
We greet a new beginning12, the reordering begun13.

(Neptune: The Mystic)

I vow to thee, my neighbors, together as we stand,
Awestruck fragile creatures, my love with open hand
A love that invites questions, a love that knows no rest,
A love seeking answers, in every human breast;
May that love never falter, may we show a friendly face,
May that love make us ready to share our common place.

(c) 26 November, 2011, Larry Kenneth Gates.

Some reference versions of 'I vow to thee, my country':

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