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Martian Rose by Stuart Atkinson

Post Series: Poetry Thursday

This week, we are honoring the success of the Mars Insight mission with a poem about mankind’s curiosity surrounding the Red Planet. We hope you enjoy this poem. If you’re curious about the Insight landing, you can get the latest updates about it here.

Martian Rose

Poem by Stuart Atkinson

 

I had a dream we sent

a single seed to Mars, and all Mankind

watched, mesmerized, as a red rose

bloomed on that dusty, rusted world.

 

Every day in their millions

people logged on to see

it sleeping in its mulchy bed

of finest terran soil –

luxuriously-damp, dotted

with pin-prick beads of alien water,

all glistening in the half-light

of a dusty martian dawn.

When it woke, poking its

sleepy head out from beneath the soil

the world rejoiced, their voices raised

As webcams showed a seedling,

a fragile spark of living green

glowing bright against the fractured, fractal

tans of Barsoom’s frigid, lifeless lands…

 

Imagine that… a single, perfect rose;

marooned on Mars, cocooned

safe and sound inside its mini Valley Forge.

Tended by tiny Deweys, our seedling

would stretch bravely for the salmon-tinted

sky, delighting in the lower gravity

but surprised to find herself the only hint,

the only trace of life for as far

as her eyes could see, with only

splintered rocks and rippling dunes

of hissing ochre dust for company,

unaware that countless million miles

away, on the waterworld that shines

lantern-bright in her twilight sky

she is the Greatest Show Off Earth,

the star of a botanical Big Brother,

a multi-media celebrity. In every magazine

and on TV: her pictures,

the whole world hypnotised by her

beauty as she grows and grows,

casting her leafy shadow on the envious, sterile stones.

 

Addicted to this strange, Truman Show of foliage

a billion souls would come to know

each petal like a friend;

every trembling inch of stem would be

scrutinized for signs of

something Going Wrong, each screen-grabbed

frame enlarged as the game to be

the first to see The Rose begin to die

took hold around the world.

 

Each besotted player praying someone else would win.

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