Monday, May 23, 2005

Ohio Men Are From Mars

Robert N. Going (who really should get his blog going again) writes with the following insight into a great novel. I love Ray Bradbury's work, but when I'm reading it I often have to put it down, because it hits me too hard. Interesting to see the wit behind the poignancy. Writes Robert:

I am a great fan of Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles which I have probably read a dozen times in the last 40 years. It was only a couple of years ago that I caught the full meaning of part of it when I stumbled on the lyrics to "Beautiful Ohio." In the story about the third mission to Mars, the astronauts find an American midwestern town plopped right next to their rocket. The boys suddenly recognize their own relatives. They all run off to their boyhood homes. There's lemonade and ice cream, the sound of creaking porch rockers and through one of the windows a copy of the sheet music for "Beautiful Ohio" propped on a piano in the parlor. None of it is real, of course, just dreams of what used to be, prepared by the native Martians to lull them into complacency. (A dream that carries through to the all-American funeral with a band playing "Columbia, The Gem of the Ocean.")

So Bradbury only gives us a glimpse of "Beautiful Ohio", while winking at those who know the chorus:

Drifting with the current down a moonlit stream
While above the Heavens in their glory gleam
And the stars on high
Twinkle in the sky
Seeming in a paradise of love divine
Dreaming of a pair of eyes that looked in mine
Beautiful Ohio, in dreams again I see
Visions of what used to be.

Cool, eh?