Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Poem: "Trouble on the Planet Mars" by Samuel Ward Loper

Trouble on the Planet Mars

There was trouble on the planet Mars,
Great disturbance and commotion,
Some fearful influence spreading
Over continent and ocean.

All the Martians were excited
And wildly hurrying to and fro,
Looking anxious and despairing
O'er some overwhelming woe.

Odor awful and mephitic
Was penetrating everywhere,
Worse than any combination
The skill of chemists can prepare.

What could be this stifling odor—
So unaccountable and strange,
Coming thus upon the planet
With such an universal range?

Learned Martians, men of science—
Seeking the source of all this woe,
Through all space exploring
Came at last, the truth to know.

From the earth came all this trouble,
From a beauteous world disgraced;
To the habits of its people
They this curse mephitic traced.

Nauseous fumes from pipe and bowl
In varied forms of usage known,
Through long centuries uprising,
To space-pervading power had grown.

Stench of liquor and narcotics,
Worse than all bi-sulphides known,
And foully tainting everything
On the planet Mars was thrown.

Odor awful and mephitic—
Spreading horror and despair,
Naught could save the strangling Martians
Or neutralize that deadly air.

By Samuel Ward Loper (1834-1910)
(Boston: Richard G. Badger / The Gorham Press, 1904)

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