logo_sol2000_colour s





This morning, yawning as I woke

From another Troy-trapped night

I watched Sol rise for the 2000th time

And wondered: “Was it all a dream?”

Did I really climb the scree-streaked

Side of Husband Hill? Did one night I thrill

To the sight of shooting stars and two

Silvery moons fleeing across the sky? Did I

Drag my ruined wheel for mile after endless mile,

Ploughing a ragged furrow through Barsoom’s

Cinnamon-dusted crust before Doom

Caught up with me and left me stranded

Here, impatient in this pit of ancient sand?


When I arrived, falling out of the salmon-

Hued sky, trailing a flapping banner of flame

And fury, a backshelled-Beowulf, none on Earth

Thought I would survive even a hundred nights –

Yet, here I am, alive, after two thousand!

True, I cannot move, and my horizon has

Not changed for what seems like an eternity

But I can still see, and there is beauty in every

Rock, and stone, sliver, slice and shelf of shale

Around me. And if I am fated to stand

At this wind-whipped, stony place, statue-

Still, until only ghostly traces of my graceless

Lines remain then so be it; I will not rage

Against the end of my days, I have seen

More wonders than I dared dream I would,

And I have always known that every turn

Of my wheels was carrying me closer to

The End.


They will send others after me –

Bigger, bolder, more capable machines –

But I will always be The First,

The one that faced and overcame the worst

That Mars could do and made the old

World New again for millions watching

Back on Earth. That was my worth – the rebirth

Of the Red Planet in the minds of restless men.

I’ll be forgotten, that is the way of things, but when,

One day, I’m found, and the so-long silent hills

Of Gusev ring to the sound of celebratory “She’s here!”

Cheers, they’ll speak my name again..!


© Stuart Atkinson 2009 

Thanks to AstroO for the beautiful logo – designed for UMSF – at the top of this page. AstroO has also made a poster of this poem, featuring a breathtaking image from Spirit. You can find it on his blog, here: http://astro0.wordpress.com/mer-sol-2000

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