Looking at Fire, Exploring the Cold


Leaves crunch underfoot,

above red planet rises–

owl hunts unconcerned


Thrusters fire, and a ship lands securely in a sandy crater. Passion burned in the heart of the war god; his namesake is rust-hued, barren, and frigid. But–once water flowed here, and perhaps life flourished, too.


We look up, wonder

see fiery stars, and ponder–

elsewhere, sun sets blue


117989main_image_feature_347_ys_full  Sunset on Mars

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell
On May 19, 2005, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured this stunning view as the Sun sank below the rim of Gusev crater on Mars. This Panoramic Camera mosaic was taken around 6:07 in the evening of the rover’s 489th Martian day, or sol.

My poem was inspired by the Mars Insight probe that landed this week. This Haibun is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday using synonyms for cold and safe.  And for dVerse, where Victoria asked us to write any type of poem using fire.





48 thoughts on “Looking at Fire, Exploring the Cold

  1. I’m a Star Trek fan, too. In my ideal life I would have signed up for a ship into space going anywhere and spent the rest of my life exploring. Maybe I will be able to do this in another life! I LOVE the idea of a blue sunset. Because it is not like ours here on earth, it sort of makes me have faith in the idea that there other possibilities of all kinds exist out there, and maybe, if I try, I see that they do here, too. Thank you for these poems.

    • Thank you for your wonderful comment, Claudia. I also think there are so many possibilities here and elsewhere. We may or may not see them. I think of how some animals can see colors we could never see. I also think there could be creatures that we can never even imagine that could be “out there.” Even the Star Trek universe has to limit things to what we could see and understand. 🙂

  2. Your take on the prompt words and inspired by the Mars landing is brilliant. Have you been watching the show, Mars? It’s quite good. I can feel your words and the photos are stunning. A blue sunset. Wow. I can’t help but agree with other comments that the *powers to be* will destroy this planet by mining the hell out of it. ❤

  3. This was very cool Merril. My grandson, age 5, loves space knows all the panets, their moons, and just tons of stuff. Loves Nasa, knows about the privately funded space programs. He told me he is a space nerd. 🙂 Says he wants to go to Mars when he is older.

  4. i imagined the world turned upside down and for a moment that gave me such an amazing view from your inspired words, maybe the earth needs to shake us humans up and take better care of it, the sky and the earth will protest in the colours you have just written so beautifully. loved this Merril

  5. Pingback: Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge Recap No. 112, “Cold & Safe”, #SynonymsOnly – Colleen Chesebro ~ The Faery Whisperer

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