I am cold. So cold.
Once I felt young; now – as old
As the chipped, frost-nipped rocks surrounding
Me. Hard to believe I once climbed the Mountains
Of Mars, gazed down on Gusev’s Big Country Plain
To watch dust devils whirling again and again
‘cross the landscape beneath my strong wheels…
Now I feel… oh, so weary; the weight of the rusty crust
Lying on my back stoops me like an old man
And I cannot feel a thing, can merely flick
My dry, itching electronic eyes this way and that,
Wondering if each picture I take will be my last…
Current flows through me grudgingly now.
I am hungry for power, starved of it,
As thirsty for it as a vampire gone weeks without
A kill. The thrill of basking in prickly summer
Sunshine is just a memory; the low winter sun
Is sorbet-cold, hanging in the sky like a skull,
A single vulture circling Homeplate
In oh-so-slow motion.
But I am still alive! Mars, Great God of War,
Declared war on me the very moment I arrived,
And every struggle-filled sol since has tried its best
To snuff out the guttering candle flame of my life –
But failed. And tho winter’s ice-encrusted fingers dig deep
Into me now, searching for my heart, desperate to pluck it free
And cast it to the whispering wind I will not give in!
Mars – do your worst; Spirit, of Earth, will not yield!
© Stuart Atkinson 2010