Our High Bay showroom-clean-just-built polished gleam
faded a thousand sols ago and now, encrusted
with half a decade’s worth of talc-fine martian dirt,
we know each dawn could be our last.
Our once-bright eyes are dull now,
Cross-hatched with cat-claw scratches
From the million stinging gritty grains
That flay our tiled skins each day and with
each creaking turn of our weary wheels
We churn through yet more ancient ground,
The whispering of the winds the only sound
As we haul ourselves across another mile.
Tired beyond belief, but still reaching
For that skyline we know our time
Is running out, but while the Sun shines
On our thick-with-fines backs we swear
our roving shall not cease.
In Five years’ time, when another, larger
Rover may be wandering o’er Barsoom’s ochre plains
We will – unless some miracle occurs by then –
Lie dead and buried ‘neath drifts of cinnamon dust.
Not rusting – the air here is too dry for that –
But resting, sleeping a contented sleep, dreaming
Of dust devils dancing at daybreak, remembering
Sunsets painted in blue with a jewel-bright Earth high
Above, knowing that on that Evening Star our memories
are kept alive, our images seen on millions of screens
and the pages of books piled mountain high…
Remember our roving now and then and we will never die.
© Stuart Atkinson 2008
Note: you can find poster versions of this poem to download at Glen Nagle’s excellent blog here