My Friend Carl
Recently out of the blue, my daughter picked up the Cosmos series for me at the library. I watched the first two episodes with renewed delight before they had to go back to the library.
Some years back (in the 80s) I wrote a poem which I dedicated to Carl Sagan. Then I wrote a short article which was published along with the poem in an online newsletter that unfortunately, no longer resides on the web. That was about five years ago. Thought I had lost these writings altogether in a massive computer crash.
When I found a hard copy recently, I was gratefully surprised. Will post these writings here, because I have this idea to tell stories in my blog which “speak” in ways that somehow open a window into my soul… that maybe you might see me.
Watching just those two episodes of Cosmos reminded me how much I miss Carl. I’m a passionate amateur astronomer; currently doing research in quantum physics for a novel I’m writing. Reasons too, why Carl’s been on my mind and in my Heart. He “is” a gentle soul who cared (cares) and shared (shares) so much with the world.
I recognized a Kindred Spirit in Carl Sagan the first time I saw him in the PBS series, “Cosmos.” His passion and enthusiasm about the “Heavens” mirrored my own. He brought Astronomy to the people. He used language, rich prose, and metaphors we could all understand.
Carl was more than a scientist and so much more than an astronomer. He was a poet, a philospher, an accomplished writer, and a true Renaissance man. I loved Carl Sagan. I loved the series, “Cosmos.” In an astronomy course during one of my various eras at college, we used the book, Cosmos as a text. Never had I seen a textbook so rich and so full of human wit and pathos as this one. Come to think of it, text books generally aren’t full of wit and pathos at all.
Carl Sagan’s visible intelligence and enlightened consciousnesss brought an appreciation for the awe and wonder of the universe that rivaled no other of his contemporaies. His fiction novel, Contact, remains one of the best books of its kind I’ve ever read.
Many people didn’t like Carl. I can’t imagine why. Did he honestly want to share his passion with the world? He did. Did he care about the Earth and its inhabitants? Did he care about all of us here turning and spinning in a “small” solar system on an outer arm of a “local” spiral galaxy known as the Milky Way? Yes he cared. Of this there is no doubt–at least not in my mind and in my Heart. I miss you Carl.
for Carl Sagan
back in the brackish pre-Cambrian ooze
pounding a slow unfathomable pump,
a lumping crawl
like a slow swallow
in a swollen throat,
formed in the howling rain–
a spark snaps. Great Mother wakes,
sings to a billion ancient flashing eyes.
Light, that other face of God,
curves in on vast darkness–
sweeps as wind,
dark distance, so far away
cold suns long spent
no longer burn,
though ghost lights still turn;
holy as gods.
soft, a Mother’s hand
moves as grace in darkness,
weaves wheels within wheels
yet to turn, in waves uncurled
where fire wants to burn;
run wild with wind to earth’s edge,
to sea and star.
yesterday curves round, flashes back again
to now. here. where we spin.
where eternity begins.
(C) December 2002