El Dorado Dusk by Stuart Atkinson

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(inspired by the "Solset panoram" created by members of the Unmanned Spaceflight Forum - )

At solset, this world is glorious.
Shadows lengthen, stretching
Lazily across a landscape surrendering to the night.

Colours deepen, senses sharpen;
Beauty swathes the ugliest
Boulders in an ochre cloak of bruised and burnished gold.

Shooting stars skip giddily o’erhead
Even before the Sun has fled
Abandoning El Dorado to the stark Noachian Dark.

And yet, in Ancient Ages
Water, not dust, this silent basin filled,
Beneath an aching sky as blue as the Dusk Star’s sapphire hue.

My rocks, kissed by raindrops -
Tears shed for Life’s Lost World –
Glistened like jewels in the feather-soft light of dawn.

But no salty sea surges here now.
Though once these rugged rocks felt
The vaguest tickle, the briefest, tenderest touch of Life
They are now skeletons of stone;
Time first bathed and soothed them
But now has dried and cracked these stones to splintered bone.

And yet, at solset, Beauty.
This cold world lovingly painted gold.
When Men come here, they will see this Temple of Light, and cry.

© Stuart Atkinson 2006