Song of the Crab Nebula

in celebration of 50 years after Apollo 11

Long before the first eyes ever saw me
__Floating like a ghost upon the night,
Long before human minds even feebly
__Pierced beyond their dimly shrouded sight,
I was there, though clothed in different raiment,
__Blazing like your own, my brother sun,
Over unimagined reaches distant,
__When your infant world had just begun.

When your wise men looked upon the heavens,
__I was but another shadowy form,
That no one guessed was the same which legends
__Told of, dying in a fiery storm—
Filling all the sky with brilliant lightning,
__When a spiritual darkness covered earth,
That, though darkened minds saw only dying,
__Was the herald of my spirit’s birth!

Then I grew into a form more subtle
__Than the human eye could ever see,
Veiled as in a diaphanous mantle,
__Taunting your mind to discover me—
For within, a heart lies deeply hidden,
__Beating with a silent pulse that sings,
Hurling unseen beams across Time’s chasm,
__Like the thoughts that move all living things.

I was watching as your great explorers
__Ventured on your planetary seas,
And when bolder minds dared to discover
__Things beyond the senses’ certainties,
Waiting as you grew into a being
__That could feel my coursing, thought-like beams,
And, then recognize their higher meaning
__In your growing universe of dreams.

As with sunlight, tiny atoms quicken,
__Into earth’s vast, living harmony,
Endless, untold worlds of thought awaken
__When, at last, you grasp my mystery;
When the passion for those passing shadows,
__For the higher, unseen things, you feel,
My dark beauty will no more elude you,
__Haunting like a thing unknown, unreal.

You will someday reach beyond the limit
__Even of our galaxy’s own shore,
Spreading thought like light into some dim-lit
__Cavern that invites you to explore—
Then you will remember what first called you
__To whatever heights your spirit leads,
And I will be smiling ever on you,
__When you bend the distant stars like reeds!



World Soul

The sun sets like the giant shape of dreams,
__Among the mists and luminous, living shrouds,
Half-hiding, yet adorning its light-streams,
__Transfigured from those mere white, floating clouds
Into a vision of a realm beyond,
__That speaks in language of the utmost deep
Of souls, and like a balm, dissolves the bond
__Of thought, and mysteries of death and sleep
____Come ‘round the human heart to tempt and taunt,
____And Siren-like our mortal senses haunt.

There was a time when this sky had not formed,
__When elemental forces ruled the night,
And alien, brutish vapors raged and stormed
__In garish green and blue electric light—
When no eyes yet existed to behold
__The beauty of its wild, volcanic glare,
Yet something in its untamed freedom told
__Of greater, nobler spirits sleeping there
____Like seeds within its raw sublimity—
____The feeling creature that would someday be.

Perhaps the dawn of that first sacred thought
__That ever in a mortal breast awoke,
Was by a vision such as this one brought,
__As if of other, higher worlds it spoke;
And I am in the presence of all those
__Who ever stood, transfixed before the night,
To feel the beauty that yet strangely flows
__Between the darkness and the dying light—
____And think that all creation would enfold
____Into a moment that a heart may hold.



Daniel R. Leach is a poet living in Houston, Texas. He has spent much of his life fighting for the ideals of classical culture and poetry. His volume of poetry, compiling over 20 years of composition, is entitled “Voices on the Wind.”

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The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.

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3 Responses

  1. Mike Bryant

    Your first poem is a wonderful combination of science, imagination, history and verse. It took me along my life path from learning about astronomy as a child, to watching early space exploration on television, to poetry and to daydreaming about space travel. It’s amazing how you bring this supernova to life. And now the nebula has invited us to travel beyond our small galaxy into the emptiness of space. All we need now is a FTL ship and provisions for the journey. Beautifully done.

  2. C.B. Anderson


    Your first poem was a great adventure into trochaic meter, with only a few hiccups here and there. Your great conceit was to place yourself in the center of the universe, which is what every poet does, almost all the time. In the second poem you sometimes go over the top, with expressions, such as, in the first stanza of “World Soul” where you go a bit crazy. The second half of that large stanza defies rational interpretation. But I can only hope that someday you will learn how to control your effusions and rein your thoughts into a semblance of cogent expression. Having said all that, I must admit that I enjoyed your excursions into other-worldly fantasies.


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