By Rose Haig Thomas
NOT this cold grey world for me
With its dull monotony
Of sombre land and sea.
No ! a mad career
In another sphere,
Rather than linger here.
Then heigh for rosy Mars !
The king of all the stars !
Where prisms play
Pranks with the day—
There would I stay,
Where light is dark, and darkness bright,
And wisdom folly, weakness might.
Where right is wrong, and wrong made right,
Where night is day, and day is night,
And the night glows rich with a warm red light.
So heigh for rosy Mars
The king of all the stars !
Where purple fish leap in a scarlet sea,
In sportive play ;
Where deep waves roll, wine-red as Burgundy.
Throughout the day
Across the blazing heavens sails an azure sun ;
How his cerulean shades
Melt into mauve among the rosy blades !
And blood-red trees their golden shadows write
Over the violet glades.
There winged beings green as malachite
Flit in and out the cooling turquoise light
At the high noon.
And when the sun sets deeply darkly blue,
Bathing the bloody blades in opal dew,
Falls on a scarlet world a golden night,
Wherein slow riseth into sight
No pale-faced moon.
With giddy circlings, a strange steel-blue
And star-shaped satellite
Whirls through the golden blare.
As nervous starfish shun the touch,
So shoot her shrinking fingers forth,
Point East and South, point West and North,
Her mazy moving radiants such
A thousand changes wear.
They flash from her steely shield
Like a myriad scimitars,
As she laces her golden field
With its splutter of blue black stars.
Thus is the gamut set
From palest orange unto purplest jet.
Then the malachite beings grow glittering bronze
With feeling, with passion, agleam, aglow,
In touch with their molten rosy world.
Green fire flashes from their jewelled breasts,
Where flame a thousand ages,
Whilst their broad pinions spread, quiver to the quill.
Forth from each beauteous head leap forked tongues ;
A rushing sound as music of a stream
Stirs the still air with sweet strange speech
That writes its meanings on the atmosphere.
The flashing hieroglyphics scintillate,
Among the purple shades, fork-lightning quick.
Between the waving wings
The younger beings feel and see and hear,
And on their brains the branded image sinks
Of quiv’ring naked knowledge newly born.
The seeming solid ground uncertain heaves,
Stretching to slender threads the pliant chain,
The easy fetters of a lessened gravity.
These buoyant beings rise and madly dance
Wide stepping as the winds,, their waving wings
Mingling in one green cloud,
Which bronzing in the golden night
Drifts out of sight.
* * * * *
Gone is the scarlet sea,
The azure day,
And my rainbow reverie
Fades into grey.
Thomas, Rose Haig. “Mars.” The Yellow Book, vol. 6, July 1895, pp. 249-252. Yellow Book Digital Edition, edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2010-2014. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2020. https://1890s.ca/YBV6_thomas_mars/