Is the state of the world getting to you? Express yourself in a poem. Take your lead from any news story and send your poems to

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

A Star in the Sky

It’s time for a new destination.
Just fill out a short application.
The prize is a trip to the stars.
You’ll land, if you’re chosen, on Mars.

No need for your rose-colored glasses.
This planet all others surpasses
In redness, as evidence shows.
La vie over there is en rose.

You may want a book in your backpack.
And maybe a super-sized snack sack.
The trip will take 200 days,
Assuming there won’t be delays.

There won’t be a guy there to greet you,
Or natives or waiters to meet you,
No cocktails or food on a tray.
You won’t find a pub or café.

We know you’re resourceful and clever
And ready for such an endeavor.
You’ll figure out how to grow food.
If not, you’re most certainly screwed.

We trust you’re adaptable, always.
You will not find fountains in hallways.
On Mars, there’s no lake and no sea.
No problem:  Recycle your pee.

The landscape is truly attractive.
The air may be radioactive,
But if you get cancer up there,
We really won’t bother or care.

Instead, we will watch as you wither.
We’ll follow you hither and thither
With interest, while sipping our tea.
You will be a star on TV.

Imagine the gold for our station,
The drama, the series’ duration!
We’ll call it “The Star in the Sky.”
It runs till the day that you die.

© Vala Hafstad

Applicants wanted for a one-way ticket to Mars

Vala Hafstad lives in Iceland. She finds inspiration for her poems in strange news.


  1. Hi Vala - I enjoyed your poem and the way you use humour and rhyme to bring home an interesting (and perhaps scary)subject. I have to say the whole subject has captured my imagination lately. I thought travelling to Mars would be my dream job and then the reality of a no-return ticket and no green and no sunlight and no water... all of that hit me and I started to think how frightening our obsession with space is. Perhaps we're all brought up on Star Wars and Star Trek and fail to see beyond the fantasy?

    1. Thank you very much, Carolyn.

  2. It's great to see your work here again, Vala – I always enjoy your poems about the quirkier items in the news.

    And I had a similar reaction to this story as Carolyn. Indeed, I once thought I’d make a pretty good astronaut myself (aged 8). But faced now with the reality of a one way ticket to a place with no dentists, pubs or family, I can see I was woefully mistaken, and have decided to spend the 30 euro application fee on something more down to Earth.

    In fact (and at the risk of offending tens of thousands of hopefuls) I suspect one would have to be either a misanthrope or have some serious issues to run away from (possibly both) in order to seriously consider going. To be blunt, probably not the sort of person I’d really relish being be stuck in space with for years on end...

    If they ever get there, though, I’ll definitely watch things fall apart on TV. (In the pub. With a pint. And somebody worth keeping my feet firmly on the ground for.)

    1. Thank you very much, Bavo. To my surprise, 78,000 applications have been received.