5 Years


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





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