[T]he sun and the moon
set the world in a swoon
and clothed it in meadow and wood.

And with bashful glance
began to dance

… and called it good.



FitP Poet Highlight 28/82: Danny Nelson, “Creation

Danny is a poet of considerable range and talent. He works deftly in poetic forms from light verse (as here, here, here, here, here, and here) to the free-verse dramatic monologue (here) to forms situated between (here, here, and here). “Creation” revises the Old Testament’s opening text and, as such, it delves deeply into the “procreant urge of creation”, a phrase straight out of Whitman. Indeed, in Nelson’s poem, as in Whitman and, I would argue, most poetry, I find this “Urge and urge and urge, / Always the procreant urge of the world” advancing “opposite equals”—as poets and readers—“out of the dimness” of matter unorganized into bodies and relationships eternally on the verge of being (or greater manifestations thereof). Danny captures this paired advancement in “Creation” with his depiction of the (pro)creative union of the sun and the moon, an interaction representative of the male and female aspects of Nature working together to craft a new sphere from the fabric of the universe.

Within the Mormon context of the poem (it originally appeared in The Fob Bible, an anthology written by a writing group made up of Mormons of various stripes), the (pro)creative movement of these “opposite equal” spheres further implies the eternal (pro)creative influence of both male and female Deities over the universe. For if we have a Father in Heaven and if, as Eliza R. Snow reminds us, “truth is reason, [then] truth eternal / Tells me I’ve a Mother there” and that she’s doing more than merely keeping House. Rather, as Danny’s variation on this theme suggests, she, as represented in the creative power of the moon—which here “lift[s] land” from the earth’s watery void, “set[s] the rain in silver sheets / upon the ocean’s stormy streets” and places “birds in flight” and fish in the sea—and as the feminine coeval with God the Father, is an active participant in the eternal, reiterative round of creation, a circling “dance” that is more productive of all that is “good,” beautiful, and holy than many of us may care to—or even, at present, can—imagine.