Then, when the uniform was new
and muscles flowering in the flesh —
when exultation thrusted you
into and through the bursting dash,
there was the handle. Your easy hand
took it in stride, the green baton,
rushed it through the cinder land
and finishing, eagerly passed it on.
There was a second verse but I can’t dredge it up from memory. This was written around 1962 or 1963.
Here’s the beginning of a new second verse, composed on 11 Feb 2019:
Now, as the decades take their toll,
your strength remains, but your speed has flown.
Endurance fades, but your will is whole
and the joy of striving still your own.