Reynolds: Song Lyrics and Poems
Leave My Van Allen Belt Alone
Notes: words and music
by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1962 by author. In 1962 it was revealed
that the U. S. military was planning some experiments involving high altitude
nuclear explosions; one of the objectives was to deliberately modify the
Van Allen Belt (!). There was a considerable public outcry but the experiments
continued, and on July 9, 1962 three large devices were detonated at heights
of sixty and several hundred kilometers. These tests did turn out to have
some serious effects, knocking out a number of satellites and in fact
substantially changing the intensity and orientation of the Van Allen
The sky is full of hardware, it's shot up ev'ry day,
As trocats and Astrodogs are flying ev'ry which way;
Now there's astro telephones and other astro junk,
So Nellie Jones can telephone her cousin in Podunk.
Computer minded brass hats are running here and yon,
They've blown up the Pacific and now they want the moon.
They've muckied up the atmosphere till you can't breathe the air
And now they're knocking holes in the super-stratosphere.
Leave my Van Allen Belt alone, leave my Van Allen Belt alone;
You're messing up the lovely world that is man's natural home,
You're putting radiation into ev'ry tree and stone,
Go see if you can find your way back to the Pentagon
And leave my Van Allen Belt alone.
They say that this Van Allen Belt is quite a noble span;
Been holding back the cosmic rays since time itself began;
A belt of gleaming superforce around the world in space
And that's a structure even Doctor Teller can't replace.
The military tinkers want to shoot it full of holes
Though they have no idea what that will do to human souls.
Astronomers cry "Stop it!" geneticists cry "Wait"
But when we hear the countdown it's going to be too late.
Those military fellows have invaded every zone
There's not a corner of our lives that we can call our own.
They've set their stamp on Congress till it doesn't dare to blat
And every college president has gold braid on his hat.
The newspapers and radio obey those sharp commands,
The military elbows in on distant foreign lands
They're shooting hunks of U.S. steel to many a far off star
But now with my Van Allen Belt they've really gone too far.