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A Look At Michael Jackson's New Poem 'Planet Earth'

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The newly released Michael Jackson album This It It, a twenty track, two-CD set accompanying the release of the movie of the same name, features one of Jackson's poems, called "Planet Earth." The poem is rich with deep (if cliched) metaphysical questions, and, as you could probably guess, is a call to environmental awareness. James Bearden, the music supervisor of Jackson's This Is It tour, told MTV that the theme refers, in part, to the urgent need for more environmental awareness:

"[Jackson] wanted the world to know that this may be it when it came to seeing him tour, and also that if we don't start paying attention to the world around us now, then it will be it for the Earth too."

The critics have, by in large, been pretty kind to the poem. Brad Wheeler of The Globe and Mail called it "unsophisticated but poignant." Dan Aquilante of The New York Post described it as "hokey at times, but there is a childlike quality that emerges after a few listens." The less diplomatic Toronto Star called it "vapid." And Time Magazine simply said of it, "consider yourself warned."

Here's the full text of "Planet Earth." You can listen to a recording of Jackson reading it here, in his typical breathless, dramatic speaking voice.

Planet Earth, my home, my place
A capricious anomaly in the sea of space
Planet Earth, are you just
Floating by, a cloud of dust
A minor globe, about to bust
A piece of metal bound to rust
A speck of matter in a mindless void
A lonely spaceship, a large asteroid

Cold as a rock without a hue
Held together with a bit of glue
Something tells me this isn't true
You are my sweetheart, soft and blue
Do you care, have you a part
In the deepest emotions of my own heart
Tender with breezes, caressing and whole
Alive with music, haunting my soul.

In my veins I've felt the mystery
Of corridors of time, books of history
Life songs of ages throbbing in my blood
Have danced the rhythm of the tide and flood
Your misty clouds, your electric storm

Were turbulent tempests in my own form
I've licked the salt, the bitter, the sweet
Of every encounter, of passion, of heat
Your riotous color, your fragrance, your taste
Have thrilled my senses beyond all haste

In your beauty I've known the how
Of timeless bliss, this moment of now.

Planet Earth, are you just
Floating by, a cloud of dust
A minor globe, about to bust
A piece of metal bound to rust
A speck of matter in a mindless void
A lonely spaceship, a large asteroid

Cold as a rock without a hue
Held together with a bit of glue
Something tells me this isn't true
You are my sweetheart, soft and blue
Do you care, have you a part
In the deepest emotions of my own heart
Tender with breezes, caressing and whole
Alive with music, haunting my soul.

Planet Earth, gentle and blue
With all my heart, I love you.

So what do you think? I'm thankful that Jackson toned down his sentimentality a bit for the poem, avoiding the sort of statements that mar the other environmentally conscious piece on the album, "Earth Song," which asks "What about crying whales?" and "What about elephants, have we lost their trust?" And parts of the poem are genuinely interesting. The third stanza is a full on love song to the planet, and it's hard not to read it as a little steamy:

I've licked the salt, the bitter, the sweet
Of every encounter, of passion, of heat
Your riotous color, your fragrance, your taste
Have thrilled my senses beyond all haste

Licked? That's an interesting choice, to say the least.

Despite its faults, Jackson's devoted fans will probably eat up "Planet Earth." And it isn't the first time that an overabundance of love on Jackson's part made the rest of us--and maybe even the elephants--a little uncomfortable.

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