At dawn this morning I gazed at the sky
and saw the moon as it said goodbye.
I had watched it wane from its full moon splendour
and with each passing night become more slender.
I must confess it does not cause me pain
that for now there’s no plan to put anyone up there again.
I hope there will never be another attempt people on the moon to land
the need for which I fail to understand.
Those who stepped on our satellite and closely studied the scene
told us that it is not, as we thought, made of cheese that’s green.
They also said that there it does not snow
and I think that is really all we need to know.
Now to the planet Mars missions are planned
and some politicians insist they must be manned.
Others claim robots just as well would do
so there’s no need to send a human crew.
Whatever the enterprise it would cost untold billions
while on our planet people die of disease and hunger by the millions.
Our world’s richest country cannot care for its people’s health
while its small minority accumulates incalculable wealth.
We know the planet has the water that keeps living beings alive.
If it didn’t how could the little green men survive?
Is the plan to send humans to Mars their weapons to employ
so that, as is their wont, any alien creatures they find they will destroy?
Would our politicians’ time not be better spent
in trying planet Earth’s problems to circumvent?
So while we mortals presume the heavens for targets to scan
we should remember what the poet said: The proper study of Mankind Is Man.*
* Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man