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October 25, 2015

It All Goes Around (but what?)
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 03:26 PM * 68 comments

One of the pleasures of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary series is running across the small songs that Breq, the main character, collects. One particularly graceful lullaby that threads its way through the story is It All Goes Around:

My mother said it all goes around
The ship goes around the station,
It all goes around.

My mother said it all goes around
The station goes around the moon,
It all goes around.

My mother said it all goes around
The moon goes around the planet,
It all goes around.

My mother said it all goes around
The planet goes around the sun
It all goes around.

It’s clear in the story that the song is a ferocious earworm. Which is why the tune for it that Foz Meadows composed is so perfect. It fits the lyrics beautifully, and sticks in your head. It certainly stuck in the head of Tumblr user @comedrinkwithme, who demonstrated that it’s a really good round.

And it stuck in my head this weekend, when I really did want something light and clear in there. It stuck hard enough that I tweeted a version of the song about the song itself:

My mother says it all is a round
The author writes a lullaby
It all is a round.

My mother says it all is a round
A reader makes a tune for it
It all is a round.

My mother says it all is a round
A Tumblr user demonstrates
It all is a round.

My mother says it all is a round
And now that fandom’s singing it
It all is around.

Then it started.

About then other people started getting involved:

There are more; follow the Twitter stream to find them. And Fiona inspired a “teach the cosmological controversy” version:

My mother says, it all goes around
Aetheric orbs surround the world
It all goes around.

My mother says it all goes around
The planetary spheres rotate
It all goes around.

My mother says it all goes around
The stars move with the firmament
It all goes around.

My mother says it all goes around
In heaven, all-encircling,
It all goes around.

So. Who’s next?

Comments on It All Goes Around (but what?):
#1 ::: Ann Leckie ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2015, 06:12 PM:

Hah! I had been thinking of screenshotting these and making a tumblr post out of them. Instead, I'll link to this!

#2 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2015, 06:18 PM:

Ann @1:

Excellent! I hope people come and add their own versions!

#3 ::: Matthew Ernest ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2015, 06:21 PM:

My mother says it's all around the world
Gotta tell you what I just heard
There's gonna be a party all over the world
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDUdrvdbMow

#4 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2015, 06:34 PM:

I had thought up my own tune for that song, but Foz Meadows' is much better.

I'm somewhat proud of myself for guessing "the ship goes around the station" before we got it in the text.

#5 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2015, 06:48 PM:

My mother says it all goes around
to wound the autumnal city
It all goes around....

#6 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2015, 08:42 PM:

I’m gettin’ bugged drinkin’ tea upon the same old ship;
I gotta finda new place where the kids are hip.
<guitar riff>
My buddies and me are not exactly doves;
Yeah, the bad guys get nervous when we take off the gloves.
It goes around
(Goes around round round it goes around)
Upwell and down
(Goes around round round it goes around)
From here to there and back
(Goes around round round it goes around)
Just like an orbital track.
It goes around round woo ah ooh ah…

#7 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2015, 08:47 PM:

My mother said, it all goes around
What goes around comes around
It all comes around.

#8 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2015, 09:19 PM:

My mother says it all goes around.
The elephants go around the turtle,
It all goes around.

My mother says it all goes around.
The Disc goes around the elephants,
it all goes around...

#9 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2015, 10:54 PM:

Matthew, #3: That reminded me of this song. And one other song by the same group, which doesn't seem to be on YouTube, but in looking for it I discovered that they had a new album out last year, which will be mine as soon as I get over to Amazon!

#10 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2015, 04:56 AM:

Thanks to Twitter's habit of showing things new-to-old, I saw some of the adaptations (which already tossed a bunch of earworms at me) before going and listening to the tune, which nicely grabs all kinds of folksongish stuff.

My mother said it all goes around
the green grass grows all around all around
it all goes around

and I'm not going to try adapting
Wheel is turning and you can't slow down
you can't let go and you can't hold on
you can't go back and you can't stand still
if the thunder don't get you than the lightning will
...
Round round robin run around
Gotta get back where you belong
Little bit harder, just a little bit more
Little bit farther than you than you've gone before

My mama said don't go round that river
Don't you be hanging around old Catfish John
it all goes around

#11 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2015, 06:19 AM:

My mother says it all goes around
The ship goes around the station
It all goes around
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer,
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold....

#12 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2015, 11:34 AM:

Now that I've been properly earwormed, it's morphed into:

My mother says it all goes around.
Crack crack crack, another chick is born.
Peep peep peep peep, peep peep peep,
Peep peep peep, it all goes around.

#13 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2015, 12:11 PM:

Mmm, no. My brain is scrambled enough, Kthxbye. :-)

#14 ::: Susie ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2015, 12:25 PM:

'Round goes the wheel of fortune, don't be afraid to ride,
There's a land of milk and honey waits on the other side;
There'll be peace and there'll be plenty, you'll never need to roam,
When we go rolling home, when we go rolling home.

More verses and attribution; live recording in a pub.

#15 ::: nwhepcat ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2015, 01:02 PM:

I love this! And how much do I love that Ann Leckie's verse has a "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall"--only 10X worse!

#17 ::: Nightsky ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2015, 03:23 PM:

My mother said it all goes around
Round the corner we will go
Round the corner, Sally!
It all goes around.

#18 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2015, 04:42 PM:

Near a tree by a river
There's a hole in the ground
Where an old man of Aran
Goes around and around

#19 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2015, 05:14 PM:

My mother said, it all goes around
The weasel goes around the bench
It all goes around
My mother said, it all goes around
The monkey goes around the weasel
It all goes around.

#20 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2015, 05:30 PM:

My mother said, it all goes around
Goes around the mulberry bush
It all goes around

#21 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2015, 06:33 PM:

My mother said it all goes around
Dancing in the streets round the world
It all goes around.

#22 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2015, 11:38 PM:

My mother said it all goes around
Round, and round,
And into the ground, and out of the rain...
It all goes around.

#23 ::: Craig ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2015, 10:19 AM:

My mother said, it all goes around
To everything there is a season
It all goes around.

My mother said, it all goes around
A time to every purpose
It all goes around.

My mother said, it all goes around
A time to be born and to die
It all goes around.

My mother said, it all goes around
A time of war, a time of peace
It all goes around.

#24 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2015, 10:23 AM:

My mother said it all goes around,
The good earth goes around
It all goes around

My mother said it all goes around,
The seasons go around
It all goes around

My mother said it all goes around
The Lord and the Lady go around...

Wait, what?

#25 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2015, 11:05 AM:

Craig (23): Good one! That may be my favorite so far.

#26 ::: nm ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2015, 12:10 PM:

My mother said it all goes around,
And I said, mother,
Will it go round in circles?
Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?

#27 ::: Ruth Temple ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2015, 03:06 PM:

With deep gratitude that I got to wake up to this delicious earworm yesterday, thank you for tweeting, Abi, thank you everyone for making it so, and also with thanks to Sally Rogers:

My mother said it all goes around
Babies are born
in the Circle of the Sun

My mother said it all goes around
Children take their first step
in the Circle of the Sun

My mother said it all goes around
Children speak their first word
in the Circle of the Sun

My mother said it all goes around
I hope to be married
in the Circle of the Sun

My mother said it all goes around
I hope to die (spread my ashes)
in the Circle of the Sun

My mother said it all goes around
Clouds to the North
Clouds to the South
Wind and rain to the East and the West
in the Circle of the Sun

My mother said it all goes around
Babies are born
in the Circle of the Sun

—which is also a delightful circular zipper song you can add infinite verses to (like Dakota Dave Hull's "hate to shovel snow" verse), an excellent thing in any proper earwormy lullabye, for which you might just need an infinity of verses from time to time.

#28 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2015, 08:15 PM:

My mother said it all goes around
From the day that we are born
It all goes around

My mother said it all goes around
There's more to see than can be seen
It all goes around

My mother said it all goes around
There's more to do than can be done
It all goes around

My mother said it all goes around
The Circle of Life, it moves us all
It all goes around

#29 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2015, 08:17 PM:

And one for Australians of a certain age:

My mother said it all goes around
The Twists go around the lighthouse
It all goes around

My mother said it all goes around
The Gribbles go around the Twists
It all goes around

#30 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2015, 09:57 PM:

Wall Street Journal article on earworms. Interesting article, and doesn't seem to be paywalled.

#31 ::: Paul Lalonde ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2015, 10:12 PM:

Absolutely brilliant that Justice of Toren could sing all the parts of this round by itself. Sad that Breq could not. Happy that her new crew likely will.

#32 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2015, 10:23 PM:

My mother said it all goes around
the stitches go around the needle
It all goes around

My mother said it all goes around
the ribbing goes around the needle
It all goes around

#33 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2015, 12:17 AM:

the first verse showed up:
My mother said it all goes around
the yarn goes around the needle
It all goes around

#34 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2015, 01:18 AM:

My mother said it all goes around
Around the round
Earth's imagined corners
It all goes around

#35 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2015, 05:01 PM:

While we're at it, do you think the Fluorosphere could use our collective talents to complete the unfinished limerick from Ancillary Sword?

There once was a duck who was God,
Who said, It's exceedingly odd.
I fly when I wish
and I swim like a fish...

The best I can manage is:

When I quack, the whole river is awed.

Any better submissions?

#36 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2015, 05:30 PM:

Rymenhild@35:

"People worship the water I trod," perhaps?

#37 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2015, 05:31 PM:

Up down, turn around
My mother says it all goes round
Tonight I think I'll walk alone
I find myself as I go home...

(brought to you by the New Wave.)

#38 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2015, 05:46 PM:

My mother says it all goes around
Pick a bale of cotton
It all goes around

My mother says it all goes around
Pick a bale a day
It all goes around

***

My mother says it all goes around
Now and then I'm lonely
It all goes around

My mother says it all goes around
Now and then I'm tired
It all goes around

My mother says it all goes around
Now and then I'm nervous
It all goes around

My mother says it all goes around (bright eyes)
Now and then I fall apart
It all goes around

#39 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2015, 05:51 PM:

re: Rymenhild @ #35:

For anybody who works better with an additional arbitrary constraint, I'll note that it could be argued that proper respect for the history of limericks requires the final rhyme to be "quad".

#40 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2015, 06:27 PM:

My mother said it all goes around
Dancing in the streets round the world
It all goes around.

#41 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2015, 06:30 PM:

The proper history of limericks probably requires something like "Naq zl nff whfg tbg shpxrq ol n fdhnq."

#42 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2015, 09:07 PM:

There was actually a contest for finishing the limerick! With several excellent conclusions. Sadly, Google is failing me at digging up the exact post with the results, though if I keep poking it with sticks long enough, I may be able...

#43 ::: thanate ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2015, 09:33 PM:

The thing that came to my mind was Christopher Robin going "all around the table/ the table in the nursery," but I haven't made it quite scan.

Also the recording they used to play on loop in a side room at the Air & Space Museum that sang "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizza-Pies" to the tune of Sawney River.

Neither of these is very like, though.

#44 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2015, 11:23 PM:

My mother said it all goes ROUND AND ROUND
The ship will find a way just give it time
Round and round
The station round, moon goes round,
I'll tell you why... why... WHYYYYY...

guitar solo


Some things just won't shut up until you let them out.

#45 ::: Nenya ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2015, 02:58 AM:

Here's the link to the winning contest entries for the "duck who was God" limerick:

http://www.annleckie.com/2015/07/08/and-the-winner-is/

And I'll have you know that I've been thoroughly earwormed by the Foz Meadows tune to "My mother said" etc. I love it. :D

#46 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2015, 04:08 AM:

In my mind Foz Meadows tune & paternosters are linked. (It's probably time I got to sleep.)

I'm full of admiration for people who can do the words of one song to the tune of another of which there are examples upthread. I can't do it & when someone else does it, weird things happen to my head: feels simultaneously neat & uncomfortable.

#47 ::: Craft (Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2015, 06:25 AM:

Re songs to the tunes of other songs - this was a favourite car game when I was a kid; I remember how happy I was when I discovered that the Australian national anthem goes to the tune of "The Gas-Man Cometh" by Flanders and Swann.

(And a lot of other things, since it's in ballad metre, but some work better than others.)

#48 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2015, 07:36 AM:

Soon Lee @46:>
In my mind Foz Meadows tune & paternosters are linked.

And in mine, the song is not unrelated to rosaries, which ties in the original meaning of paternosters...


My Mother says it all goes around
Amen then begin again
It all goes around

My Mother says it all goes around
The Aves and the Pater Nosters
It all goes around

My Mother says it all goes around
The sequence of the mysteries
It all goes around.

My Mother says it all goes around
Joyful, Sorrow, Glorious*
It all goes around.


-----
* Sorry, Luminous fans

#49 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2015, 07:43 AM:

My mother says it all goes around:
Green willow goes around my hat
(It all goes around)
Til the planet goes around the star
(It all goes around)
And around its axis spins once more
(It all goes around).

#50 ::: Susana S.P. ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2015, 08:27 AM:

@Soon Lee @46: They both go around (and around, and..), it's a perfectly normal association. Or that's my story (it happened to me, too).

Abi: Thanks for a(nother) delightful thread, and for a new repetitive thing to soothe the six-year old with in the wee hours. First-grade nightmares are a pain.

Songs to the tune of another: Portuguese leftists tend to sing "Parabéns a voçê" ("Happy Birthday") to the chorus of "The Internationale". I just recently heard someone do it the other way around, which was kind of creepy. I always wondered if this hapenned in other countries. I can't quite make it scan in English, but that could just be me.

#51 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2015, 09:26 AM:

My mother says it all goes around,
Cycles turn and stars will burn
it all goes around

My mother says it all goes around,
Younger lands will take the crown
it all goes around

My mother says it all goes around
Perish if you will not grow
it all goes around

My mother says it all goes around
Time won't drive us down to dust
it all goes around

#52 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2015, 09:51 AM:

My mother says it all goes around,
Spring is rot and Spring is life
it all goes around

My mother says it all goes around
Summer's glory, blood and wine
it all goes around

My mother says it all goes around
Autumn's gifts are dearly bought
it all goes around

My mother says it all goes around
Winter's wisdom hunger brings
it all goes around

I could add Day and Night, but that would make six verses, and somehow making it six feels wrong.

#53 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2015, 10:16 AM:

Duckbunny@51, <applause> for Hope Aerie.

#54 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2015, 01:00 PM:

Susana, #50: SCAers are fond of the Mongol Birthday Dirge, which is... not exactly the same words as "Happy Birthday", but close enough for jazz.

duckbunny, #51: Very nice!

#55 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2015, 05:30 PM:

My mother says that all's gone that's gone.
The plucked fruit regrows again,
The body lingers on.
The stolen goods will still remain,
But all's gone that's gone.

My mother says that all's gone that's gone.
The sea-born creature dies on land
When it is trod upon.
What's given to you burns your hand,
But all's gone that's gone.

My mother says that all's gone that's gone.
What's here is there, the high is low,
And all may be undone.
And what is true no two men know,
But all's gone that's gone.

My mother says that all's gone that's gone.
The ones with choices need not choose,
While those who must have none.
We only love what we can lose,
And all's gone that's gone.

#56 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2015, 05:55 PM:

Also, inevitably:


This is just to say

I have orbited
the station
that goes around
the moon

And which
you were probably
hoping
to control

Forgive me
my mother says
it all
goes around.

#57 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2015, 06:33 PM:

abi (56): Hee!

#58 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2015, 01:26 AM:

My mother said it all goes around
Numbers shape the movements,
It all goes around.

My mother said it all goes around
Movement shapes the atoms,
It all goes around.

My mother said it all goes around
Atoms shape the living things,
It all goes around.

My mother said it all goes around
Living shapes the thinking mind,
It all goes around.

My mother said it all goes around
The mind shapes our concepts,
It all goes around.

My mother said it all goes around
Concepts shape the numbers,
It all goes around.

#59 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2015, 01:29 AM:

And also, because I can't believe it hasn't been done yet:

My mother said it all goes around
The ship's never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry

#60 ::: Susana S.P. ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2015, 09:17 AM:

Lee @54: I like it!
Abi @Williams: Perfect.

My mother said it all goes around
I've taken all my protein pills,
It all goes around.

My mother said it all goes around
I'm floating in my tin can,,
It all goes around.

My mother said it all goes around
The planet Earth is blue,
It all goes around.

My mother said it all goes around
And there's nothing I can do,
It all goes around.

#61 ::: Craft (Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2015, 09:28 AM:

My mother said it all goes around
The worm drives through the wood
It all goes around

My mother said it all goes around
Electrons find their paths
It all goes around

My mother said it all goes around
The universe winds down
It all goes around

My mother said it all goes around
Bear witness. Iterate.
It all goes around.

#62 ::: Tatterbots ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2015, 01:35 PM:

My mother said I never should
Go around the tea bushes in the wood.
If I did, she would say,
The corpse soldiers would take me away.

#63 ::: thanate ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2015, 10:10 PM:

Much love for Tatterbots@63 & also abi@56

My toddler has now added the original to the things she recites bits of spontaneously (in this case, while waving one toy around another, so they were in fact going around.)

#64 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2015, 10:50 AM:

Abi @ 55: Beagle! I don't know why that took so long to sink in, but it's beautiful.

I've been loving all of these.

Meanwhile, this one fell out of the clouds and hit me last night:

My mother said it all goes around
The seasons they go round and round
It all goes around

My mother said it all goes around
The painted ponies go up and down
It all goes around

My mother said it all goes around
Around and round and round in a circle game
It all goes around

#65 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2015, 11:12 PM:

One of the people at Daily Kos put up a post tonight about earworms.

So I posted the first verse.

#66 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2015, 03:35 PM:

Clifton, that was the first song I thought of. Well done.

#67 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2015, 05:34 PM:

My mother says it all goes around
Like a circle in a spiral
It all goes around

My mother says it all goes around
Like a wheel within a wheel
It all goes around

My mother says it all goes around
Like the windmills of your mind
It all goes around

#68 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 11:29 AM:

All around the vastness of space,
Breq chased Anaander.
At Athoek Station it came to a head.
Pop! goes the Garseddai Gun.

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