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August 27th, 2015

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The Most Steampunk Song Ever Written

“Hymn to Breaking Strain” by Julia Ecklar and Leslie Fish



The careful textbooks measure: “Let all who build beware!

The load, the shock, the pressure material can bear.”

So when the buckled girder lets down the grinding span

The blame of loss or murder, is laid upon the man

Not on the steel– the man!


But in our daily dealing with stone and steel, we find

the gods have no such feeling of justice toward mankind!

To no such gauge they make us, for no laid course prepare.

In time they overtake us with loads we cannot bear

Too merciless to bear


The prudent textbooks give it in tables at the end:

The stress that shears a rivet, or makes a tie-bar bend

What traffic wrecks macadam, what concrete should endure

But we poor sons of Adam, have no such literature

To warn us or make sure


We hold all Earth to plunder, all time and space as well

Too wonder-stale to wonder at each new miracle

’til in the mid-illusion of Godhood ‘neath our hand

Falls multiple confusion on all we did or planned

The mighty works we planned


We only in creation! How much luckier the bridge and rail!

Abide the twin damnation: to fail, and know we’ve failed!

Yet we– by which sole token we know we once were gods–

Take shame in being broken, however great the odds!

The burden or the odds


Oh, Veiled and Secret Power Whose Paths We Seek in Vain,

Be with us in our hour of overthrow and pain!

That we– by which sure token we know Thy ways are true–

In spite of being broken

–Or because of being broken?–

Rise up and build anew!

Stand up and build anew!


-The Gneech

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