One thousand sunsets have I seen,
One thousand blue dawns too;
One thousand nights of knife-sharp cold
Have I endured to send you images
Of Barsoom’s beautiful burgundy peaks,
Its rubble, rocks and stones,
All scoured by dust, once under cool water
But now dry as fire-flensed bones.
One thousand times pale sol has traced
Her arc above my head;
But no ball of fire shines in these eyes, instead
A wan and wasted disc,
A coin of faded gold, the brutal cold
Of Mars - that chills me to my core -
Too deep for Sol’s meagre heat to ever hope to thaw,
And so I wake from sleep each dawn to find
A fine-stitched cloak of hoarfrost covers me.
One thousand purple velvet dusks
Have left me close to tears;
Fearful, not for my own frail self
But for your world, my dearest
Makers: the sapphire-splinter beacon I see
Blazing as a star before I sleep seems
So small from here; its ink-blue oceans,
Forests, fields and streams reduced
To a twinkling Tinkerbell gleam,
A spark of laughter, life and love
That could grow roaring into a galaxy-devouring
forest fire in Far Far Future years to come
Or be snuffed out in an instant, smoke curling
From its seared remains the only sign
That Man Was Here - leaving me standing alone,
Staring at where the Evening Star used to be.
Ten times longer have I lived than I
Was meant to do; oh, I am so tired now,
Cold and old, with worn wheels weary
From turning and sleep-starved eyes burning
With the grit that dust devils spit into them whenever they spin by.
But I shall not die, not yet, not yet,
There is much more for these fading eyes to see.
All I ask is this - go stand under the stars tonight,
Look up, and think of me ...
Tributes to Mars Rovers (read the next / previous)
Stuart Atkinson, October 26, 2006