When Dr. Carl Sagan first became a celebrity and TV personality, I read every book of his that I could find, beginning with “The Dragons of Eden.” I watched the “Cosmos” series on PBS, and I even joined The Planetary Society. I was already a science fiction fan, but this was real! I dreamed of attending some event where he was speaking, and getting to meet him. But the best I could manage was receiving a black & white photo with his name typewritten on the back from Shirley, his executive secretary. It is the cover picture from Success magazine where he is posed looking through a large telescope.
During that time I was inspired to write a group of poems about space–-trying to get there, trying to communicate with extraterrestrials, and what it might be like to live in a future where we had begun to do that. Some of the poems were serious and some were clearly whimsical. But they all stretched my imagination. Here are a couple of the shorter poems, written about 1980:
TO COMET HALLEY
Inexorably you follow your course,
Propelled by the Laws of the God-Cosmos
Onto the screen of man’s consciousness.
First a bright point in the Giant Eye,
Soon you burst on our sight–
A blazing torch
Kindled by the passion of star-fire
And trailing glory in your wake.
Earthbound, I watch you pass
And long to go with you.
(Does anyone think I could have been secretly writing about something or someone else? Actually I was, at the time.)
Night Wind, carry my song out to the stars.
Many-throated Wind, also sing of my crowded loneliness.
Wrest from this prison of ignorance a soul that languishes.
Mourner of memories lost beyond the Cusp, hear me:
I, Mankind, also have no resting place.
(See also “Space Age Nursery Rhymes”)