Year 3 crossed Meridiani in single file,
Striding across the dusty land,
Holding hands and playing “I Spy”
To pass the time as they climbed Endeavour’s rim.
“…something beginning with…R” Mari said.
“RED!” the others shouted, but Mari
Shook her head. “Rocks?” suggested Stella,
Pointing at the stones arrayed around them
But Mari replied “No” –
Then Amy saw it.
“Rover!” she cried, and letting go
Of her partner’s glove ran over
To stand beside Opportunity,
Squeaky-clean inside her crystal bowl,
Now more than a hundred years old
But looking just as noble and handsome
As she had on Landing Day.
The others followed, flowing around
The famous robot, the one they had learned about
Back in school; the one they knew
Had survived for 20 years on Mars
Before rolling to a final stop atop
Endeavour’s edge, staring out across
The great crater floor, unable to drive any more,
Then finally fell asleep.
“That’s one giant leap…” beamed Mandy,
Walking in slow motion around MER-B.
“Wrong planet, silly!” laughed Leo.
“I know,” Mandy sighed, rolling her eyes,
“I was just being Armstrong – “
“Louis Armstrong went to the Moon, not Mars,”
Tars said sniffily, “why don’t you pretend to be
Major Thomas, she was a girl…”
Mandy frowned, but kept bouncing
Around the rover, kicking over stones
As the rest of her class listened intently
To the teacher’s voice in their earpieces,
Telling them all the tale of “Oppy’s Trek”
From Eagle to Endeavour’s windswept walls.
“Time to go…” the teacher said,
Ignoring the moans and “Oh No!”s
And as the shadows crept across the crater floor
And the icy Sun sank lower
In the purple sky they all said goodbye
To Opportunity, and laughing beneath the starry sky,
© Stuart Atkinson 2018