WE LET YOU GO
So unjust, so unfair that in the end it was the dust that killed you,
Not the natural wear and tear or honourable rust of old age.
Everyone who loved you knew the Sol would come
When Mars finally murdered you; we expected
Howls of rage as an axle broke
Or your computer had a stroke,
But not… this.
Around the world, laboratories and living rooms alike
Were filled with helpless sighs as that dust storm
Covered Endeavour’s Big Country sky, swirling ochre clouds
Of fines blotting out your Sun and settling on your back,
Blinding you, smothering you, choking you…
Today, as they declare your mission has ended
And the Deep Space Network’s great concave ears
Turn away from you with a grinding and groaning of gears
I can’t help wondering if you’re still alive.
Does your electronic pilot light still flicker inside you?
Does your brave digital heart still beat in your deep, deep sleep?
Have we abandoned you too soon?
Are Barsoom’s twin moons shining down on you
As you cling stubbornly to life, needing just one more
Whisper of code to prise open your dust-caked eyes?
We’ll never ...