First Birth

 

For four billion years there were few sounds to hear

On Mars. The low moan of winds moving

Through the valleys; the rasping hiss of dust devils

Kissing as they waltzed across the plains;

The click-clack of rocks falling down canyon walls,

Bouncing a dozen times before landing on the floor below.

Then a procession of noises,

All unnatural and strange.

Loud crashes as metal machines fell from the sky

To smash into the ground; the WHUMP of parachutes

Opening high above; the whir of wheels,

The grinding of gears as robot rovers, steered

From many millions of miles away rolled

Across the landscape, exploring.

One day there’ll be the crunch of a boot

Scrunching into the dust. Then another, and another,

Whoops and cheers after four billion years of peace.

Then the hammering will begin: metal plates

Being shaped into life-supporting Habs, then homes

For families to live in – and grow.

And then, one sol, no-one can predict when,

A new sound will echo around Mars.

At the end of a long, twin-moon night

Of pacing and waiting on two worlds – a baby’s cry.

The birth of a new age.

 

© Stuart Atkinson 2018

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