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F.F. Teague 05-11-2021 02:42 PM

Planet poems

I wrote this one recently in response to a prompt and I wondered whether anyone on the 'sphere would like to write some sort of planet poem.

It's intended as a rap (rhythm, cha-cha-CHING). The science might not be entirely accurate, but that might not matter to the N of course. I enjoyed writing it :-)

Pocket planet

Oy, stop pickin' on me. Yeh, I'm smallest of all
of the planets that circle our Sun
and I ain't very colourful -- 'Just a grey ball,'
you sniff, Venus; hey, thanks for that, hun.

Well, I might not be Jupiter, moony old chap;
I ain't Saturn, with all of his rings;
but I reckon I'd manage if we had a scrap –
I got rocks an' big ridges an' t'ings.

And besides, what is size if you're all full of gas?
You'd just burst if you ever came near,
an' that burst would leave... what? Not a great deal of mass.
I'd be biggest. Me, Merc. Are we clear?

Martin Elster 05-11-2021 03:13 PM

A Message from the Second Planet

On Friday, astronomers announced a new paper laying out the case for the atmosphere of Venus as a possible niche for extraterrestrial microbial life. —EarthSky, March 31, 2018

We’re microbes in the clouds of Venus
of an otherworldly genus
gobbling CO2 and spitting
out sulfuric acid—fitting
for a life form that can waft
akin to an oceangoing craft
far above the rocks and soil
whose heat will make lead bullets boil.

We’re vitamin D3 gourmets,
drinking ultraviolet rays
as we have done for donkey’s years,
wild about the atmosphere’s
asphyxiating greenhouse gas,
so reflective that your glass
sees only jewel-like radiance.
You scientists are on the fence

on whether there is life on Venus,
but only ’cause you haven’t seen us
yet. And we don’t want you to,
for if you poke and probe, you’ll strew
our virgin world with noxious matter.
All tranquility will shatter.
Goggle at our planet. Stand
in distant awe. But please don’t land!

(Appeared in The New Verse News, Tuesday, April 3, 2018)

F.F. Teague 05-12-2021 01:03 PM

Thanks, Martin; very much enjoyed :-)

It would be great to get a collection of these, but I don't know whether many people are posting on D&A these days :-/

Martin Elster 05-12-2021 04:24 PM

Thanks, Fliss. I enjoyed your poem very much. Though Mercury is now the smallest planet, it used to be Pluto before the poor little thing was demoted to dwarf planet status several years ago (as you know). I think it's interesting that the smallest planet now is the one closest to the sun, whereas it used to be the farthest from the sun!

In response to what you said about the lack of postings in D&A, I think there is more activity lately going on at The Oldie and The Speccie competitions.

I, too, think it would be cool to have a collection of planet poems.

Martin Elster 05-12-2021 08:37 PM

By the way, Fliss, I think this line

'cos I got rocks an' ridges an' t'ings.

would read better as something like this:

'cos I've rocks an' huge ridges an' t'ings.

That's 'cos it's more natural to accent "rocks" than "got."
Anyway, I love the dialogue and the zippy anapests.

F.F. Teague 05-13-2021 01:57 PM

Thanks very much, Martin; yes, it's interesting about Pluto and 'Merc'.

The Speccie... do you mean The Spectator? My mum used to subscribe to that; I think she just reads the Literary Review nowadays. Recently she had a letter published in the latter, about bad word-breaks. Unfortunately, in the same issue I found 'Fontaineb-leau' :-/

Thanks for your suggestion re. line 8. What do you think of an en dash following 'scrap' and then 'I got rocks an' big ridges an' t'ings'? I'd like to keep 'I got rocks' as it reminds me of 'rocks that I got' (J-Lo). And thanks also for 'zippy' :-)

Martin Elster 05-13-2021 10:32 PM

Hi Fliss,

Regarding the demotion of Pluto, Neil DeGrasse Tyson had a lot to do with it.

Yes, The Speccie is The Spectator. It's one of the categories (along with The Oldie) in D&A. It's nice that your mother got a letter published in Literary Review, and it's funny and ironic about 'Fontaineb-leau' in the same issue.

Here's one about Earth which, being the next planet after Venus, we would then have poems about Mercury, Venus, and Earth respectively.

Earth for Sale

We’ve just received our largest shipment ever of blue skies.
**Come check them out before you leave the system!
But if, instead of atmosphere, you crave a nice sunrise,
**we’ve got so many styles. In fact, I’ll list ’em:

The types from airborne particles or molecules of air,
**volcanic ash trapped in the troposphere
and cloud and Rayleigh scattering. We guarantee you’ll stare.
**That isn’t what you want? Then do not fear.

This planet sports so many things of interest and worth:
**countless kinds of animals and plants
and rocks containing jewels. You never know what you’ll unearth.
**You’ll long to live here after just one glance.

Too many folks, you say? You think this planet isn’t well?
**Just look around. Behold the majesty.
From Everest to Death Valley, this world has no parallel.
**Oh, please don’t go! We’ll give it to you free!

Martin Elster 05-13-2021 10:56 PM

Here is another one about our planet. It appeared in LUPO (Lighten Up Online), Issue 53: March 2021.

I Came With Instructions

I came with instructions on how you may use me.
You’ve tossed them away and, instead, you abuse me
by tainting me, turning my thermostat higher,
and breeding like rodents. How different prior
to the entry of men! Dinos didn’t misuse me.

With your boats and your cars and your aircraft you cruise me.
My derma can’t take it. You constantly bruise me
with bulldozer, drill, excavator, or fire.
****I came with instructions.

You should know that your foolery doesn’t amuse me!
Though you don’t always see these events in the news—me?
I see clear as a hawk that your world will expire
if you don’t recognize that the score is now dire.
Your boss, Mother Earth, says, take steps or you’ll lose me.
****I came with instructions.

Martin Elster 05-14-2021 10:08 AM

I reckon you want us to write new poems. But, though I wrote this one 14 years ago, at least it may (or may not) give you some amusement (which is, after all, the second word of "Drills & Amusements").

What Is a Planet?

What is a planet? No one seems to know.
They found this icy ball larger than Pluto
**way out on the back porch
of the solar system, orbiting as slow,
deliberate and unhurried as a pseudo-
**Olympic snail with torch.

This frozen mass, the heftiest one found
since 1846 circling the sun,
**swims amid the scraps
of the Kuiper Belt, the icy junk surround-
ing Neptune’s revolution; a vast ton
**of stuff all doing laps

like turtles in a relay round their star.
This hunk of ice and dust they had descried
**creeping nine billion miles
away from Sol, shines bright as a gold car
that glistens like a dazzling gem and glid-
**ing over domiciles

and trees and fields and lakes almost too high
for anyone to see; a toy balloon
**beyond the loftiest cloud;
a floater drifting across the jumbo eye
of the solar system like a distant moon
**that joined the comet crowd.

Its temperature would make a penguin freeze
in less time than it takes to say the word
**Antarctica. So bleak
on that small orb! You surely couldn’t sneeze,
for the place has no atmosphere. No bird
**would soar, no human speak.

Now, is this object planet, asteroid,
or something else? They’ve nicknamed the thing Xena.
**Yet Xena’s unaware,
nor would she care about the present void
in rubric in astronomy’s arena
**from which they stare and swear.

F.F. Teague 05-14-2021 12:00 PM

Thanks, Martin; this thread just gets better and better! Thanks very much for posting more planet poems.

I've read up on NdGT. I see he's written a book called The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet. I wonder what the UK's fave planet is. Probably Earth.

My mum worked in publishing for about 35 years, so she's pretty sharp. I don't seem to have access to the Oldie and Speccie categories.

You've had a lot of poems published; congrats on that. Sometimes I think of submitting things, but I usually end up feeling overwhelmed. Both new and old poems are welcome; I enjoyed reading all three of your latest posts here.

I tried Mars today. It was a bit of a rushed job in between work tasks, so I might spruce it up at some point. Apologies for the language, lol.

You wonder why I'm red. It's RAGE, you fools!
00Engage your brains (such small things though they be)
and ponder, if I came to you with tools
00to prod and poke, would you spin peacefully?
YE GODS! Since nineteen seventy-one
00I've tolerated landings on my arse,
and all your rampant rovings; aren't you done?
00For how much longer must I bear this farce?
Well, keep this up, perhaps I'll come to you!
00A million Martians summoned to explore
your troughs and pathways, all that green and blue
00and then you'll know the hardships I endure!
So, you've been warned. Now get out of my sight
or know in full the force of Martian might!

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