New Earth


“Found: a New Earth!” the papers’

front pages declared, the morning after

smiling, over made-up faces on Old Earth’s

TV screens had beamed with delight,

eyes alight at the sight of flashy CGI

graphics showing what ‘scientists’

thought the New World might look like.


“…and only 20 light years away!” they

gushed, clearly flushed with thoughts

of chisel-jawed astronauts going

there (boldly of course); blissfully unaware

that our plucky pioneers’ bones would have

crumbled to dust before even a hundredth

of their kamikaze interstellar cruise was through…


“…astronomers even say it may

have life!” Natasha beamed,

seemingly hypnotised by the prospect

of its little green men despatching

sash- and epaulette-draped Ambassadors

to the capitals of Earth, just as soon

as their Visas were approved.


“The Goldilocks Planet!” magazine banners

rejoiced, bored reporters’ voices raised

in universal praise of the boffins behind the great

breakthrough: white-coated Zharkoffs who’d possibly

given Mankind a Plan B, a place in the sun to flee

to when all Terra’s tall towers fall, its filth-clogged

dead oceans boil and its cities sink under the waves

of countless Inconvenient Truths…


…and through it all I sat there, staring

at the screens and pages of print,

searching for just a hint of a fact;

a Cosmic Killjoy laughing “But

it’s nothing like Earth at all!”

Whipping around its cold, old star

like a thing possessed, 13 breathless

days in each Gliesien year,

how is that even remotely like

anything that we have here? Besides,

we really don’t know anything!

Arrakian desert or Costner Waterworld?

Who can say if its daytime sky

shines blood red or emerald green?

Yet they’ve already blessed it with rivers

and gurgling streams; green-

meadowed vales, great ET whales wailing and

sailing the depths of its abyssal plains as

strange lights play in the dome of its sky

at the end of each alien day…




But it’s like Earth? Who can say?

Who can say?


Who can say?


© Stuart Atkinson 2007



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