Sojourner on the Red Planet



Today, the Fourth of July,


In the year of the Lord, 1997,


America commemorates her birthday


And regales the world with a rare and sublime gift;


Sojourner on the red planet,


That scans for a modicum of life


On a far and thirsty wasteland.


It’s all in the news,


And a man of wisdom says:


‘We need to know the history of Mars,


Why so red and no life bears?


 Why Venus is fair and forlorn?


Whether we be on a fate as one of them?’




And the robot trudges on and on,


Clamps hard on rock and dust -


A real son of his father,


Who churns and grubs the earth


In desperate quest for gold.


And tomorrow the earth lies forlorn:


A specimen for tomorrow-people,


Who may as well be along
This dire fate that eats life.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

As I sat on a sofa in the cool, dark expanse of the club house and watched the previews and the eventual launch of the space shuttle that bore the Sojourner to Mars, I could not help but think about our own earth. Other Youth Corps members around me in the club house of the Corpers' Lodge at Saipem Camp could never imagine  my thoughts, but I saw the pictures of Mars: the pictures of a dead but once vibrant planet. Was it possible that our world was also dying and would one day lie as red and bleak as the dead Mars?

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