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Welcome, Poets, to another Haibun Monday, where we blend prose and haiku into that unique form of poetry that Basho made famous. Frank J. Tassone here, and today, let’s talk about Mars!

Why Mars? For starters, it’s already March!

The name of March comes from Martius, the first month of the earliest Roman calendar. It was named after Mars, the Roman god of war, and an ancestor of the Roman people through his sons Romulus and Remus. His month Martius was the beginning of the season for warfare,[1] and the festivals held in his honor during the month were mirrored by others in October, when the season for these activities came to a close.[2] Martius remained the first month of the Roman calendar year perhaps as late as 153 BC,[3] and several religious observances in the first half of the month were originally new year‘s celebrations.[4] Even in late antiquityRoman mosaics picturing the months sometimes still placed March first.[5]

“March,” Wikipedia

Red-faced Mars, Homer’s “war-glutton” and “man-killer,” personified the unmitigated bloodlust and chaos of war. Fortunately, his planetary namesake resembles him only in color:

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury. In English, Mars carries a name of the Roman god of war and is often referred to as the ‘Red Planet‘.[15][16] The latter refers to the effect of the iron oxide prevalent on Mars’ surface, which gives it a reddish appearance distinctive among the astronomical bodies visible to the naked eye.[17] Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth.

“Mars,” Wikipedia

Mars has captured our scientific and cultural attention since ancient times. From those Martians-invading-Earth stories of Science Fictions’ Golden Age to Mars-as-Earth’s-Colony-(or liberated rival) novels of contemporary speculative fiction, The fourth planet continues to influence literature. In fact, some poets have found inspiration in the Red Planet:

Mars Poetica

Wyn Cooper

Imagine you’re on Mars, looking at earth,

a swirl of colors in the distance.

Tell us what you miss most, or least.

Let your feelings rise to the surface.

Skim that surface with a tiny net.

Now you’re getting the hang of it.

Tell us your story slantwise,

streetwise, in the disguise

of an astronaut in his suit.


Tell us something we didn’t know

before: how words mean things

we didn’t know we knew.

Copyright © 2012 by Wyn Cooper. Courtesy of Academy of American Poets

The Light of Stars


The night is come, but not too soon;

  And sinking silently,

All silently, the little moon

  Drops down behind the sky.

There is no light in earth or heaven

  But the cold light of stars;

And the first watch of night is given

  To the red planet Mars. 

Is it the tender star of love?

  The star of love and dreams?

O no! from that blue tent above,

  A hero’s armor gleams. 

And earnest thoughts within me rise,

  When I behold afar,

Suspended in the evening skies,

  The shield of that red star. 

O star of strength! I see thee stand

  And smile upon my pain;

Thou beckonest with thy mailèd hand,

  And I am strong again. 

Within my breast there is no light

  But the cold light of stars;

I give the first watch of the night

  To the red planet Mars. 

The star of the unconquered will,

  He rises in my breast,

Serene, and resolute, and still,

  And calm, and self-possessed. 

And thou, too, whosoe’er thou art,

  That readest this brief psalm,

As one by one thy hopes depart,

  Be resolute and calm. 

O fear not in a world like this,

  And thou shalt know erelong,

Know how sublime a thing it is

  To suffer and be strong.

Courtesy of the Poetry Foundation

Whether it’s the God of War or the Red Planet, write your haibun that alludes to Mars.

Remember, a haibun is combination of prose and haiku. For the purposes of this prompt, the prose may be non-fiction or speculative. The haiku, while not needing to be in the 5-7-5 syllabic format, must include a kigo (season word) and present a complement of seemingly divergent images, such that there is a moment of insight. For more on haibun writing, click here.

New to dVerse? Here’s what you do:

  • Write a haibun that references Mars
  • Post it on your personal site/blog
  • Copy your link onto the Mr. Linky
  • Remember to click the small checkbox about data protection.
  • Read and comment on some of your fellow poets’ work.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • Post a link back to dVerse in your post.

Have fun!