‘Be careful what you wish for.’
You’ve all heard that before?
Well, I wished for adventure
and thought I would explore
some ruins in the universe
where once the Planet Earth
had been a destination
for folks of Martian birth.
My Martian Grandpa told me
about some things called ‘trees’-
tall and green and leafy –
and flowers and birds and bees.
He remembers animals
and there were humans too
last time he took a trip there.
He called the planet ‘blue’
but when I checked on Google Earth
everything looked grey.
No animals, no oceans – no place to holiday.
But I’d wished for adventure,
and I was curious too.
So off I went to see it – how could all this be true?
Pa said it wasn’t worth it
and, sad to say, he’s right.
There’s nothing living there at all –
it’s such a dismal sight.
Kate O’Neil 2020
This poem might seem dark, but sometimes it is worth looking at an imagined future, worth seeing the potential threat as real … motivating us to do what we can to avoid it.
Children love to hear stories from grandparents about ‘the olden days’, to share the nostalgia for ‘the good old days’. Imagine then, the possibility of the death of our planet. Horrible.
And imagine how it will be remembered by aliens who might’ve been here for a look around. We know and love all the things this future Martian kid wants to see.
Right now, we still have our Earth. And imagining the Martian kid’s experience might motivate our children to do what they can to look after our ‘blue planet’.
We still have hope. The Martian’s experience is in an imagined future.
We can decide to change direction.
We can decide to keep our blue planet safe.
Kate O’Neil– Australian children’s poet. Kate’s poems appear in many anthologies and magazines, including the highly-respected, The School Magazine in Australia.