the travelers

We gaze at the night sky, espy

a  billion points of light, beamed from

dying stars

across the vastitude of time

and space

 

But from the fixed points of stars,

we observe spots drifting through

the void, slowly traversing the aether,

ever turning round their orbits,

held in balance

by the sun—our sun

 

Around which the solar system revolves

comprising eight age-old travelers,

the Kuiper belt, and moons, et al

 

The four trekking closest to the sun

are terrestrial in make, their

bodies forged of rock and metal,

their features carved

into place

 

Of the travelers, little Mercury

lies nearest

to our star,

where soaring temperatures

sear its pockmarked face,

due to an atmosphere

long gone

 

Second off from mercury is

the clouded guise

of Venus,

whose sulfuric smog

and volcanic bod

make for quite the hellish

existence

 

Earth’s the third rock from the sun,

and the sole proprietor

of life

its hydrosphere

gave birth to air

and for DNA,

the conditions were right

 

The Martian’s crimson pate is fourth:

polar-capped and

canyon-run,

Mars shoulders

our system’s highest peak,

the lofty

Olympus Mons

 

Beyond the asteroid belt loom

the Jovian brutes, gaseous giants

all four;

ringed with dust and ice and rock,

at their centers, a solid core

 

All the travelers are dwarfed by Jupiter

whose mass nearly trebles

theirs combined;

its coterie of moons

and otherworldly typhoons

only accentuate

its prime

 

Sixth from the sun is

ring-wreathed Saturn,

whose bulk’s less dense

than water

Its moon named Titan

has an atmosphere likened

to the moisture-laden

clouds on Earth

 

Uranus is held penultimate

and the chilliest

by far

with its wonky axis

and cool-blue praxis

it stands aloof,

a world apart

 

Furthest back lies Neptune,

whose blue hue

is due

to methane, and whose

surface is swept

by bracing gusts kept

at 1,300 miles per hour

 

They travel ‘cross the firmament

these eight orbs round the sun

Their light’s not fixed, not permanent

through space, they turn as one

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