Slice of Life Story Challenge March 17- Movies, Memories, Mathematics and Space Adventures

Movies, Memories, Mathematics and Space Adventures

Yesterday I saw the movie, 'Hidden Figures,' a powerful movie concerning the space race between America and Russia to put a man in space. The film depicts the under-reported role three African American women played in that international contest. 

The story details the working lives of three brilliant African-American women at NASA -- Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson whose mathematical abilities and computing skills were critical to supporting the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit around the earth.

The film addressed a range of issues including gender stereotyping, misogyny, and racism. Mention was also made about the Russian satelite, Sputnik. The launching of this satelite served to increase competition in the space race and the film focuses very much on this desire to lead the world in exploring the frontiers of outer space. 

I was surprised to discover that a prevailing view among some Americans at the time was that the Russians were using the satelite to spy upon the American people. My very young memories of this event was simpler and purer. I had no conspiracy theories going on  in my head at that time. None whatsoever. 

Sometimes a single word can trigger a connection. Well, hearing the word 'Sputnik' did just that for me.

The poem 'Searching The Sky For Sputnik' is based on the historical events retraced in the movie. 

I wrote my poem early last year and decided to include it in my latest book, 'I Bet There's No Broccoli On The Moon.' which was published in November. 

A poem feels appropriate for Friday...

Searching the Sky For Sputnik

Say it quickly
Sounds like a wet sneeze
Dog slobber wet

World’s first ever satellite
Launched from Russia
In the year 1957
Circling the earth
Racing through outer space
Visible in the night sky

A small boy
In striped flannelette pyjamas
Stands in his front yard
On a cool October evening
Staring up into the night sky
Eyes searching the far away spaces
For a moving light
The light of Sputnik
-And suddenly he sees it
The flashing light of the satellite
Orbiting the earth
A man made wonder
Zooming across the night sky
Above his front yard
Sounds like a wet sneeze

If you say it quickly 

Alan j Wright


  1. Love seeing your young pajama'd self standing in the night yard in your poem!

    1. The visual images conjured up by the written word sometimes surprise us. I wanted to catch the innocence of the age. Thank you for your remarks Fran.

  2. Alan, seeing Hidden Figures is on my list to watch. I've heard so many great comments about it. For me, your poem depicts the innocence of a child. No conspiracy theories, just a light in the sky and a silly sounding word. I always enjoy your work. Thanks for sharing! ~Amy

    1. Amy, thank you again for your kind remarks. I am most hopeful you will find this movie to your liking.


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