Half a Chance

Lyrics and Music ©2003 by Bill Roper

I started this song at Capricon in 2003, right after the Columbia disaster and finished it during Minicon about two months later. It would have been done sooner if I hadn't spent time arguing with what the song was trying to tell me. Never argue with the song.

    Am                            C
The men who ride the rockets have dared to pierce the sky,
   D                                F                E7
To soar beyond the borders where we have no right to fly,
       Am                                  C
To see light from sun and moon and stars unfiltered in their eyes
        D                           F             E7
But the cosmos is uncaring and it's bringing a surprise.
One terrible surprise.

	I would climb aboard the rocket.
	I would dare to face the odds.
	I would reach into my pocket
	And I would roll the dice with God
	To see the world in free-fall,
	To be part of heaven's dance.
	Yeah, I'd like to think I'm equal
	If I'm given half a chance.
	‘Cause I just need half a chance.

With satellite and dog and man, the Russians got there first,
For their rockets were the better and ours were sure the worst.
They blew up just after launching – they blew up upon the pad.
They spun round just like a pinwheel – do we have to be this bad?
Why must we be this bad?

But we learned to build them better and soon we sent a man
From suborbital to orbit packed like Spam inside a can.
We raced against the Russians, but that race was over soon.
On Saturn's mighty back, we rode a rocket to the moon
And walked upon the moon.


Our men never died in space, though it might have been just chance,
For we flirted with disaster, held her tightly in the dance.
We built a Shuttle, safe and sane, to orbit and return.
We kissed the icy lips of space and sent them off to burn.
Explode in fire and burn.

But we learned to build them better and we turned again to fly,
‘Till a line of smoke and fire stretched thin across a Texas sky.
We will learn from this disaster, just as we have learned before,
And we'll form a line to board her as we go to space once more.
To fly in space once more.

(Chorus twice)