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“And We Saw…”

A new astro-poem inspired by the New Horizons encounter with Plut

“And We Saw…”

After dropping Mercury, Neptune
And all the Faberge egg worlds between
Into place, setting them whirling through space
Around the newborn Sun, the universe sat back,
Surveyed her work, and sighed.
“That’s enough for you, little star,”
She thought, satisfied with her newest fine orrery
Spinning in the darkness – then changed her mind:
“Alright, just one more…” she smiled,
Sculpting Pluto out of mystery, myth and magic
Before banishing it into exile,
Casting it into an orbit so far away
That when Earth’s curious apes finally turned telescopes
Towards the sky they spied only a lonely pollen grain,
Drifting through the night.

Ages passed until, one day, a gold foil-wrapped bullet
Screamed past, sensors sniffing, cameras clicking
Faster than an eye can blink,
Transforming in mere hours that mote in Lowell’s eagle eye
Into the solar system’s twinkling Narnia.
All too soon Pluto was reduced to a perfect achingly-blue
Circle, falling behind – time then for the probe to begin
Beaming back to Earth, pixel by precious pixel,
On a chirruping dial-up line,
Mankind’s first long-awaited portraits of Planet 9 –

And we saw…

Candyfloss pink glaciers, slithering like serpents ’round proud mountains…

Wide open plains of ancient ice, stained by time, dusted with crushed meringue…

That huge broken heart, a pale birthmark on its face, like dropped ice cream

Splashed on a pavement…

And lurking in the shadows of the misty Norgay Montes,
Just beyond Cthulhu’s reach beneath Charon’s bloodshot eye:
Mt Wright, an open sore on the planet’s cheek,
Icy pus oozing down its sides…

(c) Stuart Atkinson 2015



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