A poem for Enceladus

With the exciting news about the possibility of microbial life on Saturn's moon Enceladus peeping through the curtain of wall-to-wall gloom, I thought it time to post a gloomy poem of mine from the great science-fiction poetry anthology Where Rockets Burn Through (Penned in the Margins). 

During my residency at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, I attended the presentation of a paper about the data collected from recent fly-throughs of the dramatic plumes of Enceladus. It's always seemed to me a matter of time before we find life on one or more of the extraordinary moons that mither and distract the gas giant planets all day and night. My poem 'A Barren Moon' is one version of how it may go down.

A Barren Moon

It’s the one that Huygens hooked
like a duck
from the fairground game
of space.

Entitled Titan then,
child of The Golden Age,
terror of men,
closing breast to breast with Zeus;
snuffed out by thunderbolt.

We had conclusive proof:
microbial life
beneath her clouds
and it fell to me
to prep the probe
and keep the instruments
of all contaminants
for fear of harming
the alien spores.


Somehow a shred
of humanity
from underneath
my fingernail
splashed down
into her secret sea
and wiped them out.

Our brethren thread.
The second lightning strike
of Life.

Invisible meteorite.

The powers that be
renamed the moon Remorse,
after me.