Parents bunched at the start/finish line
All leaning in one direction,
Eyes on a corner of a classroom
Across the playing field
Where tall trees cast dark shadows
On such a sunny day.
They had temporarily lost all knowledge
Of the whereabouts of their five year olds
Who had run away from them
Around a much nearer corner
And gone, who knows how far away.
Some grandparents among those waiting
Remembered Apollo 8, Christmas 1968
Disappearing behind the moon
And we on Earth waiting in the dark,
Not knowing what to say
Or even how to pray.
Three crosses in the trees,
Three small white tee shirts,
The first children out of gloom into glory.
And the parents not knowing
Till this moment -Who ? Who? –
How their five year old had measured up.
The three front runners raced past, waving, winners.
Back then the astronauts had quoted Genesis,
Mission Control jumped up and down,
And Earthlings squared their shoulders and knew
Three of their own had come out in front.