What once was a beguiling, beckoning bowl –
A gargoyle-edged hole carved in the great
Meridiani Plain – is now falling far behind;
A rapidly-thinning line drawn between the high
Cathedral dome of Mars’ pastel-pink sky
And the pebble-spattered, track-trenched
Ground. What we found down there,
On the cliff-shadowed slopes of fair Victoria
Made us stop and stare in wonder:
Rocks sculpted into sheaths of brittle, broken blades
By millennia of dust-drenched wind;
Slanting shafts of sunlight shining
On the sea of sand dunes at its heart;
Book-leaf layers of ancient stone, glowing
Amber and gold as twilight faded to night…
What memories we leave behind..!
But on the flat and far horizon now
A new adventure calls, and if the fates allow,
If an already-weary rover’s battered body
Can somehow find the strength to carry on
For one more stolen year, one sol Opportunity will hear
Us scream and shout out in delight at the impossible sight
Of Endeavour’s Mordor hills looming up before her eyes.
And then, content, we will smile, re-living each heroic mile
Before telling Oppy “That’s far enough. Rest now, little one,
Your work is done.” And then, at last, she’ll sleep
A deep and dreaming sleep, with History as her pillow.
And here on Earth we’ll celebrate a noble rover’s
Journey across the endless dry and rippled sea
of the Great Plain of Meridiani.
© Stuart Atkinson 2008