Writing prompt for tinywords 17.2

Photo of Mars Landscape taken by Opportunity. Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Welcome to Mars. Plenty of room to roam and scout out that perfect picnic spot. Or maybe you see something entirely different.

In this writing prompt we share a scene from a rover’s point of view. No, not that kind of rover. The interstellar data-collecting kind on wheels. Check out this truly other-worldly scene taken by Opportunity, the Mars rover that has been roaming that desolate landscape since 2004. The robot sent back this image from its extended vacation.

We hope it sparks in you some untapped poem. Send it to us! Not any poem: In keeping with our?tinywords?ethos of course, we are looking for haiku or other tiny poems. Brevity, please.

Use the comments box below to share your response. We’ll share the best discovery to open the new issue of?tinywords?(17.2) due out in late September, 2017. Thanks.

Thanks for dropping by and for sharing your poems.

200 Responses

  1. Jerry Dreesen Says:

    oh, no!

    go back! I forgot

    the phone charger!

  2. AlmaColePesiri Says:

    that would be me!

  3. Gerry Traicoff Says:

    The lonely robot
    Sixty million miles away
    Searching endlessly

  4. James Westbrooks Says:

    Damn it
    Red Planet
    I love you

  5. Autumn Noelle Hall Says:

    twin rows of staples
    across her abdomen
    the promise
    of new life comes
    at a price

  6. Gaby Bedetti Says:

    I love your spin on Mars!

  7. Autumn Noelle Hall Says:

    Just now getting "around" to saying thank you–appreciate your reading my work!

  8. Mary Kendall Says:

    I love where you've gone with this tanka.

  9. Autumn Noelle Hall Says:

    Thank you for reading–and taking time to comment. I thought I might counter the popular patriarchal view by asking readers to consider that the Red Planet might just be feminine in nature…

  10. marykendall Says:

    Hmmmm, I like that idea. It would be an interesting prompt for a group of women poets. :)

  11. stronggyrl Says:

    red dirt tracks
    swallowed by
    the dark maw
    of Mars

  12. Evie Caho Says:

    Cragged regolith hills
    Wind-beaten into powder
    Now soft red, red, red

  13. Jesse Brekelbaum Says:

    This barren red
    Will make for one
    Casual conquest

  14. AlmaColePesiri Says:

    endless opportunity

    roving Mars alone

    for now

  15. Lisa Chavez Says:

    Searching for signs of life you are the sign of life…

  16. James Westbrooks Says:

    ever onward
    seeking to find
    ghosts of mars

  17. James Westbrooks Says:

    tread tracks in red clay
    suddenly Mars
    doesn't seem so far away

  18. William Keckler Says:

    roving Spirit died
    but brother Opportunity
    thirsts for more red dust

  19. James Westbrooks Says:

    On the hilltop
    Bradbury points
    Burroughs smiles
    Rover moves on

  20. Gaby Bedetti Says:

    rover crosses
    the waterless frontier
    red sun and red sand

  21. Kaylyssa Hughes Says:

    night beach, silver-white:
    how many live below us
    unseen? and above?

  22. Dian Duchin Reed Says:

    nature still red–
    cold and dust
    for teeth and claws

  23. projectwords11 Says:

    deserted trail
    I walk till my shadow

  24. Lynne Rees Says:

    I really like the passage of time suggested in this.

  25. Gregory Longenecker Says:

    he scans
    the empty landscape
    lonely robot

  26. projectwords11 Says:

    alone on the path
    all the meaning
    i can't find

  27. Alan Summers Says:

    the scent of rain
    birdsong stretches
    as far as Mars

  28. Alan Summers Says:

    war moon
    the flickering of humans
    at birdsong

  29. Diane Allen Says:

    This reminds me of the planet of the apes, but much more complicated.

    Mars, the war planet.

  30. Alan Summers Says:

    Thank you for your comment. Yes, it could be applied to Mars, or one of its two moons.

    The haiku was originally published by Asahi Shimbun for the blood moon issue, October 2nd 2015, for the eclipse of 9/28/15

    Publication Credit: Asahi Shimbun (Japan 2015)
    the blood moon issue, Oct 2 for the eclipse of 9/28

    2nd magazine publication:
    Prune Juice : Journal of Senryu, Kyoka, Haibun & Haiga Scifaiku feature Issue 21: March, 2017 ed. Steve Hodge

    Anthology Credits:
    Heart Breaths: Book of Contemporary Haiku ed. Jean LeBlanc
    ISBN: 9789385945038 (Cyberwit March 5, 2016); Pegasus

    And forthcoming: The Haiku Anthology ed. Santosh Kumar (Cyberwit, Summer 2017)

    'Birdsong' tends to conjure up the First World War (1914-18) for British/Commonwealth troops, and alludes also to the novel of the same name by Sebastian Faulks.

    The ancient Greeks certainly glorified Mars as a symbol for war, which was carried forward by the Roman Republic and its later pre-Christian Empire.

    deeply appreciate your comment.

    warm regards,

    co-founder, Call of the Page

  31. Alan Summers Says:

    the stars dimming I adjust the astronaut in me

  32. Autumn Noelle Hall Says:

    I really admire that within the imaginative, almost childlike perspective of this haiku is a sense of reflection and personal awareness, as well as a sense of personal responsibility. Let us hope we can all call upon our inner astronauts to keep those stars bright-shining!

  33. Alan Summers Says:

    Thank you, that's very kind. We are all astronauts, as if we could travel just a few hundred light years beyond our planet, we'd see it spinning rapidly around, without politics and frontiers etc…

  34. martin1223 Says:

    Voyager One
    a pale blue dot grows fainter

  35. Alan Summers Says:


    escape velocity
    the moon pulls oceans
    behind Apollo 11

    Alan Summers
    “Rocket Dreams” commission 2007
    Read/performed U.K. National Poetry Day October 4th 2007 with Space Historian Piers Bizony and NASA images, as part of World Space Week

  36. Alan Summers Says:

    mars landing-
    a tendril of red dust
    shifts from a footfall

    Alan Summers
    Publication credits: tinywords (2007)
    eBook: Dylan Tweney “Practical Haiku: How Reading and Writing an Ancient Form of Poetry Can Change Your Life.” (ebook 2010)

  37. martin1223 Says:

    summer shadows
    moonlight shifts the plains

  38. Alan Summers Says:


    I created a haibun around a sad futuristic version of the original Normandy landings called "Nova Normandy 3044". I think a simple internet search of the title should locate it for you.

    warm regards,

    Alan Summers

  39. martin1223 Says:

    Sounds good. Thanks!


  40. martin1223 Says:

    …read it. DOUBLE PLUS GOOD!

    from tendrils of Enceladus spider’s silhouette

  41. Alan Summers Says:

    Thanks Martin!

  42. martin1223 Says:

    total eclipse
    a dust devil settles
    in the umbra

  43. Alan Summers Says:

    sharkskin shoes
    the whisper of nanobots
    in his breath

  44. Alan Summers Says:

    gun-ship hues
    the different spellings
    in alphabet spaghetti

  45. Alan Summers Says:

    fifth kind encounter
    humans replace crows
    as an idiom of murder

  46. Alan Summers Says:

    winding sheet
    the slow egress
    of android Fred

  47. Alan Summers Says:

    candy shop
    uncoiling a moon
    in a fragile sky

  48. Claudette Russell Says:

    dark and dreary
    is anyone

  49. Claudette Russell Says:

    just over the hill
    more unanswered

  50. Claudette Russell Says:

    Mars rover
    our curiosity

  51. Zoe Marshall Says:


  52. Autumn Noelle Hall Says:

    seeking prime numbers?

    what if Martians write haiku

    in 5-7-5…?

  53. Don Miller Says:

    their world so bleak

    instead of primes
    Martians visualize the lines


  54. Autumn Noelle Hall Says:

    Way to get right to the short-long-short of it all, Don (and in cherita-form, too)! I like how this visual poem mimics the rover's tracks in terms of the negative space between the lines. That idea of negative space seems particularly appropriate in this otherworld context.

  55. K. Ramesh Says:

    Mars too
    for life

  56. Sam Bateman Says:

    Mars rovers
    the science fiction
    in all of us

  57. Susan Rogers Says:

    red tracks in the sand
    I hold my breath

  58. dl mattila Says:

    the national inquirer?
    digging-up dirt?
    on Mars?

  59. Joanne Hofmeister Says:

    the empty landscape

  60. Joanne Hofmeister Says:

    the empty landscape
    for miles ahead

  61. Ian Gordon Says:


    Traveler across desert wastes,
    Searching, ever searching,
    For that oasis rare,
    Sands that stretch forever,
    Winds that never were,
    Hill after hill
    and Dune after Dune,
    Is that an Omam's tent I see?
    Does Ozymandius spare his water?
    Where does this travail end?
    In Opportunity's grasp,
    Lands that never were.

  62. melissa j white Says:

    new road

    red planet

    also begins in dust

  63. kdirewolf Says:

    makes Bob Sharp happy
    that we keep going forward
    and don't look back

  64. Ron Scully Says:

    aimless land rover
    scours the planets red sand
    no wind covers its tracks

  65. Ron Scully Says:

    burnt sienna sand
    baked into the landlay
    the orbits' oven

  66. janbentexas Says:

    the whisper-hiss
    of solar energy
    tracking Mars

  67. Jackie Maugh Robinson Says:

    Earth to Mars
    different desert
    same dearth

  68. janbentexas Says:

    surveying space
    a phantom agronomist

  69. Jackie Maugh Robinson Says:

    for science sake
    graffiti mars
    virgin red plain
    while home burns

  70. Lee Nash Says:

    new challenges
    on the horizon
    red dust

  71. Alan S. Bridges Says:

    Mars rover the forever of our tread

  72. Jackie Maugh Robinson Says:

    no regrets
    if I never go roving
    this way again

  73. Srinivas Sambangi Says:

    route to Mars
    the man's wisdom
    of his sins

  74. Michael Mosall Says:

    Endless dirt
    not one damn Martian
    cancel war

  75. seaviewwarrenpoint Says:

    withered earth
    I search for the ghost
    of something

  76. Lee Nash Says:

    how peaceful
    the planet of war
    no-fly zone

  77. Agnes Eva Savich Says:

    adventure in my blood future generations

  78. janbentexas Says:

    Agnes, you need to vote for yourself, to bump this up a few pages.
    It is Good, woman!

  79. agnesevasavich Says:

    Thanks Jan, maybe I can recycle it somewhere that accepts previous online un-edited presence.

  80. Tracy Davidson Says:

    finding fresh tracks
    it didn't make…
    not alone after all

  81. Purushothamarao Ravela Says:

    Enroute to Mars
    I take a devour
    through the moon land
    to keep my darling
    smile for ever.

  82. F.J. Bergmann Says:

    distant perspective
    future horizon same as the red past

  83. th. vandergrau Says:

    new picture from mars
    the mission engineer
    grabs a burger

  84. Lee Nash Says:

    the children
    want to go to Mars
    climate change

  85. Lincoln_Berwick Says:

    inching forward
    unsettled dust reveals

  86. John Johnson Says:

    the first tracks
    air, oceans, cities
    dragged behind

  87. Srinivasa Rao Sambangi Says:

    home on Mars
    why talk about dust?

  88. Srinivasa Rao Sambangi Says:

    unsettled dust
    red planet scores a point
    with human mind

  89. Sam Bateman Says:

    now part of
    the mythology
    Mars rovers

  90. Srinivasa Rao Sambangi Says:

    cold and dark Mars
    we did enough to live
    in the dark

  91. Claudette Russell Says:

    our friendship endures
    even when we don't know
    what to expect

  92. Claudette Russell Says:

    red planet
    piecing together its past
    to shed light on our future

  93. polona Says:

    earthrise what we used to take for granted

  94. Lynne Rees Says:


  95. polona Says:

    lingering drought
    the dowser points her rod
    to the sky

  96. Lisa Timpf Says:

    golf course designer
    sees the perfect spot
    for the first tee

  97. Claudette Russell Says:

    exploring the unknown
    the path
    out of loneliness

  98. Deborah P Kolodji Says:

    blue sunset
    on a red planet
    rover tracks

    (published in Scifaikuest, Aug 2009, but couldn't resist posting it since it fits the photo)

  99. Deborah P Kolodji Says:

    tracks across the planet no flags

  100. Srinivasa Rao Sambangi Says:

    Mars welcomes humans
    ready-made tracks
    for war tankers

  101. Suraja Roychowdhury Says:

    so much to write about

  102. Suraja Roychowdhury Says:

    so much write about

  103. Srinivasa Rao Sambangi Says:

    were we not together
    before big bang?

  104. Srinivasa Rao Sambangi Says:

    a child’s play
    connecting dots
    next is Mars

  105. Suraja Roychowdhury Says:

    a whole world
    between them

  106. Ms. Muriel Says:

    on any planet's path
    one step after another

  107. V K Murray Says:

    born of fire, rose red
    billions in displaced ash
    double underlined

  108. aniketnikhade Says:

    Exploring new possibilities each time
    Infinite and endless is the landscape

  109. Lynne Rees Says:

    late night drinks downhill all the way home

  110. Azure85 Says:

    she glares
    towards him
    Venus vs. Mars

  111. Claudette Russell Says:

    thoughts and words
    drifting into darkness

  112. Helen Buckingham Says:


  113. Claudette Russell Says:

    sifting through data
    collecting possibilities

  114. seaviewwarrenpoint Says:

    another drought
    she adds burnt sienna
    to her palette

  115. Diane Allen Says:

    art and life . . .

  116. dl mattila Says:

    out of
    control when
    whatever chased you
    beyond its alien abyss,
    prompted your message:
    S O S
    p l e a s e b r i n g
    m e
    h o m e

  117. Bob Lucky Says:

    the robot's gaze another world to imagine

  118. th. vandergrau Says:

    alone on mars
    hoping for the message
    to shut me down

  119. Sandra Lindow Says:

    bottle trees on Mars

    silicon most common
    black loam humus not at all
    growing bottle trees

  120. Diaen Allen Says:

    no mars bars here
    I'll have a
    bloody mary

  121. Diane Allen Says:

    Oops, Diane not Diaen

  122. Diane Allen Says:

    no mars bars here
    I'll have
    a bloody mary

  123. Claire Vogel Camargo Says:

    Mars’ barren landscape
    uncontrolled climate change
    on Earth

  124. Srinivasa Rao Sambangi Says:

    earthly pleasures

    my monk’s mind

    on Mars

  125. Srinivasa Rao Sambangi Says:

    tracks on Mars

    my mythological mind

    open to questions

  126. farateach Says:

    on a dusty road

    a rover seeks a life

    she never knew

  127. Sondra Byrnes Says:

    the map i’m using
    out of date

  128. Eva Limbach Says:

    far from home
    the broken colours
    out of my dream

  129. th. vandergrau Says:

    tracks in the dust
    all my life
    in plain view

  130. ros norman Says:

    hazy moons
    new data arrives
    on the martian spring

  131. Eileen Says:

    red planet hills
    brick tracks on horizon
    lead to life

  132. Diane Allen Says:

    does my butt look big
    in this thin atmosphere
    wonders Mars
    who comes in fourth
    blushing those crater cheeks

  133. Sandra Lindow Says:


  134. Jennifer Hambrick Says:

    then again maybe it was the wind road to nowhere

  135. Mary Kendall Says:

    a dust bowl once more déjà vu en rouge

  136. Daniel Birnbaum Says:

    one day

  137. Srinivasa Rao Sambangi Says:

    mission to earth

    exploring life

    year 2117

  138. th. vandergrau Says:

    out of touch
    the slow passing
    of seasons

  139. Harold Bowes Says:

    the retired astronaut
    asleep on his side —
    above his shoulders
    a smoke detector’s light
    burns red

  140. Daniel Birnbaum Says:

    In front of me
    looks like
    a mount of Venus

  141. Autumn Noelle Hall Says:


    iron atoms
    binding vertebrates

    this taste for blood—
    we are the real Gods of War
    our own Earth, a casualty

  142. smr Says:

    the sun
    lacking any warmth
    at this distance
    there's a whole world of people
    between you and me

  143. th. vandergrau Says:

    alien sky
    i wait for

  144. kalaramesh Says:

    from a path
    to the pathless path …
    autumn trek

  145. Holli Rainwater Says:

    wagon ho!
    p u
    a n
    r i
    a v
    l e
    l r
    e s
    l e

  146. Holli Rainwater Says:

    (I typed it with space between the words 'parallel' and 'universe,' like wagon tracks, but it didn't show up like that!)

  147. Harold Bowes Says:

    eclipse over, we drive home —
    each freeway viaduct
    casting its shadow

  148. martin1223 Says:

    ring eclipse
    a dust devil darkens
    the moon’s shadow

  149. martin1223 Says:

    near the Martian rover a dust devil’s purr

  150. Sam Bateman Says:

    red planet—
    the distance a dream
    has to travel

  151. Anjali Warhadpande Says:

    Territory earmarked
    Climbs new Martian heights ~

  152. Srinivasa Rao Sambangi Says:

    to news headlines

    “man may live on Mars”

    opened my eyes

    from deep meditation

    on leaving earthly pleasures

  153. glwachos Says:

    blackness gives to red
    inspiration births life
    welcome to Mars

  154. Dave Read Says:

    line the sandbox
    summer drought

  155. magyar Says:

    a grain
    this universal dust
    we are

  156. magyar Says:

    a grain
    of universal dust
    we are

  157. magyar Says:

    one grain
    of universal dust
    we are

  158. Sam Bateman Says:

    Mars rover
    at rocks

  159. magyar Says:

    one grain
    the universal dust
    we are

  160. Jari Thymian Says:

    yet familiar horizon
    my ticket
    to Mars includes an afterlife
    with Ray Bradbury

  161. kjmunro Says:

    looking back

  162. janewilliams Says:

    from now on
    the dust
    always redder
    on the other
    side of the hill

  163. PAllen Says:


  164. Dru Philippou Says:

    desert trail
    I step deeper
    into myself

  165. th. vandergrau Says:

    red landscape
    when i close my eyes
    green hills

  166. Dru Philippou Says:

    new planet
    a long wait before
    the flag ripples

  167. Dru Philippou Says:

    new planet
    long wait before
    the flag ripples

  168. Julie Warther Says:

    new world . . .
    following in our ancestors'
    carbon footprints

  169. Peggy Bilbro Says:

    horizon from the edge of earth due north

  170. get academic help Says:

    red sands and none
    is here to say
    how far away
    the Earth is

  171. Peggy Bilbro Says:


  172. Peggy Bilbro Says:

    over the edge a dream
    sets sail

  173. indonesiainmyhaiku Says:

    changing its landing place…
    a stone's rolling
    — summer dream

    Ken Sawitri

  174. Barbara Kaufmann Says:

    new home
    where will I plant
    a garden

  175. Karin L. Frank Says:

    Red Rover, Red Rover,
    hang tough Curiosity
    until we come over

  176. phantricia31 Says:


    like the human heart
    secrets dwelling
    within shadow and stone

  177. martin1223 Says:

    staring back from the Oort cloud abyssal smoker’s shrimp

  178. Don Clermont Says:

    I wish you could see
    how the sun sets from up here
    tell mom I miss her

  179. Don Clermont Says:

    Nothing but red dust
    on Mars, or is it just me
    looking into your eyes

  180. Luisa Santoro Says:

    Red everywhere
    up to the horizon
    the force of passion

  181. Gerard Sarnat Says:

    let some good drift in
    to us from our universe –
    be present here now

  182. Purushothamarao Ravela Says:

    Sand dunes
    Brighten high on sunset
    Nothing on earth to control.

  183. H. F. Says:

    red raw planet—
    anorexic haiku
    litter the ground

  184. H. F. Says:

    Orpheus' red eyes

    when he turned

    to reach for Eurydice

  185. martin1223 Says:

    climbing up the Martian horizon a red ant

  186. Pan Tofel Says:

    every sunrise
    she thinks of earth
    and we listen

  187. marykendall Says:

    even the rover
    tires of wandering
    this way or that,
    a film of red dust
    in its eyes

  188. marykendall Says:

    people dreamt of walking
    in this dust world—
    had they only known
    what it is to live forever
    in a single shade of red

  189. marykendall Says:

    longing for sky blue
    and azure seas,
    I wrap myself in red
    dust so fine it lingers
    deep inside me

  190. marykendall Says:

    tread gently
    wherever it is
    you are going –
    counting days and nights
    we make our way home

  191. marykendall Says:

    I always knew
    I’d follow wherever
    you wandered –
    the taste of fine red dust
    lingers in our kisses

  192. Srinivasa Rao Sambangi Says:

    as if learnings
    not enough…
    to the god of war

  193. Naomi Madelin Says:

    so much emptiness not knowing where to start

  194. Giulio Says:

    sandy oceans
    ruby rust
    rush of emotions
    below stardust

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