There she is. See her? That tiny black
Speck on the crater’s crumbling edge,
Just above the ledge where the New World
Falls away and tan becomes grey
With berries hissing and pouring into Victoria’s
Dune-rippled heart.
See that dark dot? We made that - Man,
Women and men, thousands of them,
Worker ants in white coats or ties, eyes
Fat from days without sleep, creeping
Home after dawn from their offices, factories and labs,
Whispering “Sorry...” again as they slide into bed;
Another meal or birthday party missed.
See that ink spot on the edge of the abyss?
We made this! Built it by hand in spotlight-bright
Clean rooms; we groomed, evolved apes
Bent metal against its but to our will.
Imagine that... monkey paws
That once chipped flint and ripped
Bloodied skins from spear-skewered prey
Now shape steel into wheels that rove across Mars!
Electronically embroidering silicon
Into miniature medieval tapestries
Of glorious silver and gold, they gently
Turn wrenches, tightening bolts on panels and plates late
Night after late night, weary but thrilled by
The sight of their dreams taking shape
Piece by piece by piece by piece ...
No, that’s no fleck on the lens,
That’s a metal Magellan exploring
An ocean of dust, sailing o’er rust-
Coloured cobbles and stones to stand
On the edge of Victoria and, hands shaking,
Roar at the pink sky “Ultreya!!
One day men, women and children - Mars-born,
With faces pale from lack of sun and limbs lengthened
To long-fingered branches by their world’s
Begrudged gravity - will come to this place to
Stare at Her statue and be amazed,
Imagining the day when brave Opportunity,
Caked with dust and wearied from her trek
From Purgatory and over and through
A thousand deep dunes hauled herself to the edge
Of the Bay and said “Enough... let me rest here,
With the great sky above and gnarled, gargoyle-
Cluttered cliffs on all sides; let me hide
Here, peering down into this stadium of stone.
I am Home... let me sleep... Make me travel no more...”
See that mote on Mars’ sands? There we stand,
Each of us, each martian dreamer,
Fanatic and Fool. Our hearts are Her heart,
Her dust-dried eyes our own.
A mere machine is She no longer - if she ever was -
But a ship, as noble and strong as the creaking,
Slapping-sailed craft after which the great crater was named,
Carrying our hopes in her hold as she boldly goes
Where no ape-built machine has gone before:
To the shores of an amber-hued ocean of dreams.
There she is. See her? That tiny black
Speck on the crater’s crumbling edge.
Tributes to Mars Rovers (read the next)
Stuart Atkinson, October 8, 2006

Editor's note: Stuart is a new guest who stumbled upon Log Cabin by chance and liked it enough to stay and honor us with a collection of beautiful verses which it will be my pleasure to publish. Most of his poems already appeared on-line, but it never hurts to disseminate poetry by all possible means. Since, as he says, his poetry is inspired by the Universe we live in ..., his verses match particularly well the general spirit of this site. Welcome, Stu!

This is what he says about himself:

I'm a writer and amateur astronomer from the beautiful Lake District in England. Although I've had seven non-fiction children's books published, and worked on many more, poetry has always been one of my great interests... this is where you can find my work. Hope you like it! If you do, let me know!

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