24 01 2014

…and then, suddenly,
A candle flame of consciousness
Quivers in the darkness
And Rosetta is awake.

At the start, the pulse of her electronic heart
Barely a flutter, but enough
To rouse her from her drowsy sleep
And pull her out of her dreams.

Slowly, slowly, memories return…
The rust-encrusted globe of Mars burning
Up ahead, Barsoom looming
Like a bloated red giant star before she swooped
Over its pole, Osiris’ single eye briefly catching sight
Of timeless clouds and craters
Through gaps in the great solar arrays
Before Ares fell behind, never to be seen again…

Lutetia – old, cold and grey,
Swimming up out from the depths of space
Like a lone, stone shark before sinking back into the Dark…
Earth gleaming a million different hues
Of emerald green and sapphire blue,
Its disc shrinking to a fingernail-clipping thin
Crescent so beautiful it would have reduced
Any window-crowding crew to tears…

All that is behind her now.
Darkness crowds in on all sides
As she rubs the sleep from her eyes,
Feeling the solar wind whispering o’er her wings,
Stretching and yawning,
Hearing her comet, and destiny, calling…

© Stuart Atkinson 2014


19 01 2014

Where did you come from, little one?
That plate of rock was bare, I swear,
Then suddenly you were there,
Basking in the sunlight, right where
We would see you. Just sitting there,
Looking up at us,
Like Dug in “Up”,
Grinning, tail wagging and sweeping
The dust away as we gazed down at you
Wondering  “What the..???”

So many theories whizzing around the Web
About your origin there’s almost no room left
For gifs of sleeping kittens’ twitching ears
Or Kim Kardashian’s rear.
Did you really fall from the sky?
A meteorite?  Hmmm. Seems unlikely that
With all of Barsoom to choose from
You’d land barely a hand’s width away
From the most curious robot
On the planet, but who knows?

Others cry “Ejecta!”
Could they be right? Did you really fly
Here after being blasted from the ground
By some rock falling at the speed of sound
Out of the sky?
If so, a brand new crater lies nearby,
Surrounded by others just like you –
A second Christmas for geologists
Who would give anything to have the rover roll
Up to its jagged rim to see what hides within…

Perhaps you were simply tiddly-wink flicked here,
Kicked up by the rover itself
To fall a short distance away?
It’s possible. After all, unlike her brash big
Sister’s wounded wheels, increasingly ripped and torn
By a Banth’s raking claws,
MERB’s are still whole
And easily strong enough to scuff
A rogue rock up off the ground,
To be found nearby next Sol…

But I wonder… Had Opportunity  looked up quickly
Would she have seen mischevious martian kids
Standing nearby, caught red (or green?) handed,
Frozen to the spot, ready to throw the stone?
Are they still there, hiding behind her,
Biding their time, daring each other  to try again?

© Stuart Atkinson 2014



Losing Lovejoy

14 01 2014


…and there you are again, still shining
Stubbornly above the trees,
An on-the-very-edge-of-sight star
Far to icy Vega’s lower right,
Bathed in lonely Rasalhague’s glow.
Nowhere near as easy to see as you were
On Christmas Eve; your head no longer
That bright, Kryptonite green
It was while our longing eyes
Were fixed on lying ISON.

There you are again, old friend,
A sky wraith, fading away,
Still shining softly as darkness greys
And birds wake to greet the approaching dawn with song.
I’ve followed you for many Moons now,
Watched you grow from a lowly smear
In an eyepiece on a star-spattered Kielder night
To an emerald green, lace-tailed light
Above frost-whitened fells
Playing hide and seek through scudding clouds,
Your tail, clipped from a vapour trail,
Drawn in pastel shades of lavender and blue
As you fell silently through the sky,
Gliding past Procyon before flying fearlessly
Beneath the Beehive and slipping through
The gap between Cancer’s nipping claws,
Brightening, tail growing,
Shamefully ignored as ISON fever gripped the world,
People everywhere unaware Another was there
For them to see…

Almost gone now, almost gone.
It won’t be long before you’re lost to me.
But ‘til then every chance I have to see
You fading into the night
With these sleep-deprived eyes  I’ll take,
And treasure.

© Stuart Atkinson 2014