One Thousand Sunsets

 

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…

 

© Stuart Atkinson 2006

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