Minus 41 Degrees


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

 Click on the image below for a full size illustrated version of this poem 🙂

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