To those who were but children when
The Earth gave birth to rocket men,
and those whose youthful lullabys
were dreams that they'd traverse the skies.

To those who once explored new moons
with plastic toys and sandbox dunes,
and those who flew themselves to Mars
in spaceships made of monkey-bars.

To those who, when they came of age,
held planets on the printed page,
and those whose schoolboy lifetime hopes
were launched from backyard telescopes.

To those whose skyward destinies
had lured them off to earn degrees,
and those despairing when they'd found
their cosmic plans were Earthly bound.

To those who must console their thoughts
of never being astronauts.
Of solace, there is little sown
to would-be astronauts I've known.

Noble ends are earned, in part
by lofty quests, and fallen hearts.
The spirit many feign ignore
endures to conquer and explore.

Tomorrow's worlds shall bear the brand
of those who'll claim they're first to land.
If truth be known, they'd surely find
the tracks we left there with our minds.

Paul Helfenstein
October, 1985