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By John I. Blair

It was more than forty years ago.
The Russians were leading the Space Race
And thousands of young people had volunteered
To stay up late, watching lights in the sky.
We were friends together, out in a field in the dark,
There for adventure as well as science,
Even though it was just a corn patch.

We had our cots, our pillows, our star charts and pencils;
A couple had bottles of beer; and all
Were filled with excitement and anticipation,
Perhaps out of proportion to what we were doing,
Counting meteors in an annual shower
(The Perseids, the Leonids—after so long I don’t recall).

Maybe we somehow felt drawn out
Into the endless space we were watching;
Maybe we anticipated moonwalks
And Mars shots that were yet to be;
Maybe we were getting in touch with the infinite.

One of us became an astronomer
(With an asteroid named after him);
Another a research pharmacologist,
With a lengthy catalog of papers
About his findings in psychoactive drugs;
A third would study violent storms
In the New Mexico desert; and yet another
Became custom tooler to Silicon Valley.
Me, I became a sometime poet.

Two of us now are dead . . . finally in touch
With the infinite in a definitive way;
The rest . . . we’re still alive, still looking, still counting,
Still full of excited anticipation,
Perhaps not out of proportion to the event.

©2002 John I. Blair

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