“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