It’s only natural if you’re walking on Phobos
Not to want to overshoot
The mark. Keep walking though. Keep
The view in view. Give some of your loot
To an indigent Martian. Some people leap,
They wonder, Why walk? And there they are,
Floating about that fat red ball.
We crawl across Mars in a fat-wheeled car
And draw electricity from the atmosphere,
The men in the other camp are drinking
Beer. We dig in the soil, we discover
Life. And the other camp is sinking,
They no longer listen to earth, they are hoping
To float, to slide to Ganymede.
Their camp is pestilence and ruin,
Their records speak of song and greed.
Something was always missing, a broken
Telescope, a valve that did
Not join. They knew about space, they had
Ideals and eagerness, a fetid
Gloom remains. Where we are,
We dig the soil, we seek not stars
But a structure that nothing can touch
And oil that can fill a hundred jars.
Yaacov David Shulman