Visiting Opportunity

 

Year 3 crossed Meridiani in single file,

Striding across the dusty land,

Holding hands and playing “I Spy”

To pass the time as they climbed Endeavour’s rim.

“…something beginning with…R” Mari said.

“RED!” the others shouted, but Mari

Shook her head. “Rocks?” suggested Stella,

Pointing at the stones arrayed around them

But Mari replied “No” –

Then Amy saw it.

“Rover!” she cried, and letting go

Of her partner’s glove ran over

To stand beside Opportunity,

Squeaky-clean inside her crystal bowl,

Now more than a hundred years old

But looking just as noble and handsome

As she had on Landing Day.

The others followed, flowing around

The famous robot, the one they had learned about

Back in school; the one they knew

Had survived for 20 years on Mars

Before rolling to a final stop atop

Endeavour’s edge, staring out across

The great crater floor, unable to drive any more,

Then finally fell asleep.

That’s one giant leap…” beamed Mandy,

Walking in slow motion around MER-B.

“Wrong planet, silly!” laughed Leo.

“I know,” Mandy sighed, rolling her eyes,

“I was just being Armstrong – “

“Louis Armstrong went to the Moon, not Mars,”

Tars said sniffily, “why don’t you pretend to be

Major Thomas, she was a girl…”

Mandy frowned, but kept bouncing

Around the rover, kicking over stones

As the rest of her class listened intently

To the teacher’s voice in their earpieces,

Telling them all the tale of “Oppy’s Trek”

From Eagle to Endeavour’s windswept walls.

“Time to go…” the teacher said,

Ignoring the moans and “Oh No!”s

And as the shadows crept across the crater floor

And the icy Sun sank lower

In the purple sky they all said goodbye

To Opportunity, and laughing beneath the starry sky,

Headed home.

 

© Stuart Atkinson 2018

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