There she is, see?
Black speck just off to Homeplate’s side.
Magnifying with HiWISH mouse clicks reveals
Her insectoid shape; the shadows
Of her blue bottle wings cast on the ground beneath
As she bathes in the shrunken Sun’s glow;
Her body encrusted in cinnamon-hued dust,
Still trapped in the cold, sucking sands of Troy,
A terran fly rooted in Barsoomian amber,
Never to roll into the shade of crazily-capped Von Braun,
Never to rove again.
So hard to see her standing there and know
There’s nothing to be done! No hope
Of rescue, no opportunity to run
Down Husband Hill’s side, through El Dorado’s
Black, crushed beetle sands to stand beside her,
Brush in hand, and sweep those fines away.
It would take how many of us
To scoop the dirt out from beneath her wheels?
Surely two or three “rover fans”, scrabbling
With fat-fingered gloves could easily
Spring her from that trap? And I’m sure
That on his own @marsroverdriver could drag
Her free, heaving and heaving until
Her liberation was complete…
But such a daring rescue is, and forever will remain,
A dream. Wheels will never whirr this way again,
And I fear boots will not crump across Homeplate’s
Humped back until long after I am dead.
For Mankind is turning its back on Barsoom,
Relegating it from The Next Frontier
To merely another ruddy star fighting
To be seen in Terra’s light-polluted sky.
I could cry with shame to think it may be another century
Until another human hand reaches out and touches Spirit,
Shaking as their fluttering fingers brush away the dust
Revealing the rover beneath – a pilgrim
From the Evening Star coming face
To face with a fossilised heroine from our
Ancient, foolish age…
Or perhaps a thousand years will pass
Before a lost soul wanders this way,
And with all memories of MER forgotten long ago
They’ll think they see a statue standing here,
Sculpted from Gusev’s bone-dry basalt
By some golden-eyed Michelangelo.
© Stuart Atkinson 2012
(This one is for Scott Maxwell, Mars rover driver and all-round great guy, who has supported my writing, and my blog, brilliantly – and if sheer willpower and love could get him to Mars to bodily drag Spirit out of that dust hole, he’d be there right now…)