Thinking About Mars on Earth Day (or am I?)

April is so chuck-a-bluck full of significant days, the ones with the fine print in the calendar blocks. Yesterday was John Muir’s birthday and today is Earth Day. That is an environmentalist’s version of a double-header! As much as I would like to write some lovely poem extolling the beauty of the natural world, today, I’m worried. Actually, every day I’m worried. I think many of us are. So, I’ve written a little warning to our nearest planetary neighbor.

Dear Mars,

I’m writing to you from a tiny patch
of solid land on planet
Earth.
I realize you probably have your own name
for my planet –
“My Blue Twin” or
“That Bloke Always Blocking My View of the Sun” or
“The Unfortunate Watery One”.
For the sake of our discussion
let’s call my home planet
Earth.
I wanted to let you know
in case you haven’t already figured it out
we’ve been watching you for a
LONG.
TIME.
We ruminate on your moods
track your movements
calculate how and how long
it will take
to get to you.
Until recently
it was all fairly innocuous stuff.
We trained telescopes on you
searched for water
collected rocks
no biggie – just getting to know
our celestial neighbor.
With sadness
I’m writing to warn you –
those days are over.
You may have noticed
a ticking sensation
roving your backside
something crawling
up your spine
some pesky bug burrowing
under your skin –
yeah, that’s us.
Well, not me.
Not even a human
but a machine we built
and launched
and landed on you.
Oh, I’m sure you think it’s nothing
to worry about
no more harmful than a baby’s hand
exploring the planes, curves, and divots
of its mother’s face.
DO.
NOT.
BE.
FOOLED.
People on this planet
have big plans for you.
Before you know it, they’ll land
drill rigs
excavators
explosives.
They will blast your formations
like they’re some mountain top in West Virginia
drill through you like convicts
looking for a way out
and if they find anything of
VALUE
well, I guess you may as well be
a Native American meeting Europeans.
I know this must be hard to hear
but I thought you should know the truth.
If I were you
I’d be a little less accommodating
a little more
war-like
because, believe me,
these aliens do not come in peace.

Yours in caution,
A Human of a Slowly Dying Planet

For the record – I don’t want to live on Mars. I don’t want humans to live on Mars (well, maybe we can ship a select few in that direction). I want us, here on Earth, to love the planet we’ve been given and to marvel at it like a baby marveling at its mother face. Let’s try that today. And tomorrow. And the day after.

Happy Earth Day!

8 thoughts on “Thinking About Mars on Earth Day (or am I?)”

  1. Your poem is wonderful, Mayilyn! I especially like these lines:
    You may have noticed
    a ticking sensation
    roving your backside
    something crawling
    up your spine
    some pesky bug burrowing
    under your skin –

    I agree with you, we need to love the planet we’ve been given!

    Like

  2. Oh, Marilyn, this is gorgeous writing and such a fun topic of truth. I am disgusted with all the flying debris in space, and we will so totally trash Mars too if given enough time.

    They will blast your formations
    like they’re some mountain top in West Virginia

    and

    and if they find anything of
    VALUE
    well, I guess you may as well be
    a Native American meeting Europeans.

    SO. MUCH. TRUTH.

    Like

    1. Thanks, Denise. Sometimes I wonder if my poet’s voice is a downer that no one really wants to hear and then I remember other poets are reading my work and there are few groups with more courage or truth to speak.

      Like

  3. What a treat to find your post in the PF round-up. And, sadly, I would like to sign-on to your letter. It’s wonderful of course, as a poem. But, so sad that Mars should ever need warning at all. This poem looks like it felt good to write. It felt good to read as it put into words so many feelings I have. Thank you.

    Like

  4. You’ve nailed it, Marilyn. Humans appear to be only self-serving for more, more, more. I wonder when, years & years ago, it started, or are our brains wired never to be satisfied? Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading. I think you are right. Our brains are wired to want more and more. Maybe when we were struggling through the last ice age that was an adaptive behavior. We did survive and I’m glad to be here. That said, tragedy of the commons is not a new concept and that we have to repeat the tragedy again and again and now on a global scale… makes me think, as a species, we struggle with learning.

      Liked by 1 person

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