An explication of "A Martian Sends a Postcard Home" by Craig Raine The poem by Craig Raine “A Martian Sends a Postcard Home” is based on how a Martian would perceive the daily life and activities of human if it comes to Earth. The Martian has described the human life and behaviour in a peculiar way as everything is new to the Martian from the human objects to humanly emotions and feelings. Craig Raine has used a very intriguing and unusual manner of explaining that how different people have different perspectives and different ways of accepting new things. He has relied on various metaphors to describe the perceptions of the Martian of human behaviours.
In the first stanza, the Martian refers to the books as William Caxton, who was the first to print books in England. He says, “Caxton’s are mechanical birds with many wings and some are treasured for their markings”. In the following stanzas, he describes that the book if opened will look as if it is a bird that is flying. although he has not seen any fly and has seen them in many people’s hands. The Martian comments that the “mechanical birds” have different emotions retained within them and is amused that the humans react to these emotions.
The Martian considers the mist as a humanly object with feelings of being tired and exhausted. “Mist is when the sky is tired of flight. and rests its soft machine on the ground”. The Martian brings out a new perspective to the mist, which the humans never even can think of. The Martian also comments on the rain in a unique manner. He remarks that it is just like a television, which makes the world go darker in colour, as if the television has been switched to darker shades. The use of the car Model T as a room with a lock inside is another very imaginative metaphor. The time is something that has been attached to the wrist (wristwatch) or put up in a box (wall clocks). He does not understand why the humans try to keep a track of time or try to control it, and it is only because of this controlling manner that the time ticks away impatiently.
Raine also adds humour to the poem by giving quite funny and amusing metaphors to common day appliances such as the telephone. The Martian describes telephone as a beast that roars and snores until it the humans pick it up and soothe it. “If the ghost cries, they carry it. to their lips and soothe it to sleep”. The Martian perceives the dialling of numbers as the human tickling the “monster” to soothe it and quiet it down. Craig Raine also critically comments on human response to grief and pain through the Martian perceptions. The Martian comments that the humans have the habit of hiding their pain and not showing or expressing it to other people. Only the children grief openly but the adults mask their feelings. The Martian notices this distinction and finds it unique and unsatisfactory.
In conclusion, the poem revolves around the usage of very amusing and intriguing imaginative metaphors, which are perceived by the Martian. Craig Raine uses an interesting method of riddles and metaphors in his poem that the Martian observes. The reader has an entertaining time decoding the images presented by the Martian. The comical and humorous writing style of Craig Raine uses the daily life objects in a unique manner grasping the attention of the reader.
Raine, Craig. “A Martian Sends a Postcard Home” 1979. Web. 11 Feb. 2014. http://www.mit.edu/people/dpolicar/writing/poetry/poems/martian.html