For the dverse prompt. Clue—read the end of line words.

Extreme star cluster bursts into life in new Hubble image


Night fills this window space,
the stars behind cloud smuts the
only flickers of light, final
flares at the dark frontier.

What artefacts these?
What hand shaped such distance? Are
ours, looking out, the
only eyes that see how light voyages,
falling in cascades of
time, gathering glitter-moss from the
silent planets? Moon, star, ship
sailing the night, this wild enterprise.


#Three Line Tales: Space junk

This is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales photo prompt.


This was the kind of photo shoot the public loved, and Scott knew he owed it to them—they were paying billions for this program that allowed him to walk in space.

He pulled himself through the immensity, feeling the eyes of stars as well as millions of earthlings following his beetling movements, to where the foreign bodies were caught up in the heat shields.

The anxiety that had grown to blind terror abated, and in a fury of irritated relief, he cut away the damn bicycle panniers and let them drift away into space.

There are stars

A poem for dverse inspired by this photo taken by the Hubble telescope.

Photo Credit: ESA/Hubble; NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

Extreme star cluster bursts into life in new Hubble image

There are stars beyond the stars we see,

And boundless are the paths they dance,

Through forests full of winking eyes,

Reflecting sunsets on the moon.

There are stars beneath the stars that shine,

Reflections of an inner sun,

Where firebirds rise from the ash,

In your deep eyes that search for mine.

Could I reach up with outstretched hand,

And pluck a brilliant from the crown,

A diamond strung from topmost branch

Of the world tree’s canopy,

I’d set it in your hair, to light

The darkness in the coming night.

Quadrille 5: Blue planet

This quadrille didn’t start out as a homage to Major Tom, but that’s certainly how it has ended up.



Floating in your tin can,

I know how you feel—

the outside calls,

the darkness, tempting,

strung out in glitter

like a Christmas street.

Drifting so light,

eternity so hard to resist,

and our blue planet,

a chimera,

so easy to let it go.

Microfiction Three Line Tales: Goodbye-eeee!

This short story or cautionary tale, if you prefer, is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales photo prompt.

photo by Edwin Undrade via Unsplash


The last ship pulled away into the unknown, and darkness fell, leaving millions to face the end with no hope of salvation.

There had never been even a pretence that there would be places for everyone, it had always been assumed that only the wealthy and powerful would be taken onto the arks leaving for the new world, somewhere in the future.

The crowd raised their hands in a final farewell to their leaders, rulers, generals, bankers, celebrities—all the glittering success stories, and when the great ship had faded to a fiery torch against the black, the cry went up, “They’ve gone—we can put the lights back on!”

Walking to the brink of time alone

A quatern in response to the Secret Keeper’s weekly writing prompt.

This week’s words are:



Walking to the brink of time alone,

I sense the silence of the cold stars’ wail,

Black winds howl and through pale gullies moan,

Secure that no one hears their lonely tale.


Our handclasp broke, you let me slip away,

Walking to the brink of time alone,

I longed with all my heart to hear you say,

You could not kill the love between us grown.


Setting sun and shooting stars still shone,

Filling earth and sky with fleeting light.

Walking to the brink of time alone,

The edge approaches at the brink of night.


Dying rays and starshine light the way,

I turn, but through the glimmer you have gone.

I call your name, but nothing makes you stay,

Walking to the brink of time alone.

Flash fiction: Can of dreams and conquests


Once upon a time, there was, and still is in all probability, a world parallel with ours in which the western Romanised world never recovered from the sack of Rome by the Visigoths. After the discovery of the Americas by one of Alaric’s descendants, the Visigoths shared the entire known world with the Mongols in the east. The world was not a peaceful place, but it was dynamic and aggressive in every sphere. Not surprisingly, after a thousand years since the last conquests, Visigoth and Mongol blood craved new pastures to explore, and, if possible, invade.

Putting together their joint strength and technological knowledge, they were searching the universe for new worlds to colonize, when scientists and astronomers in our world were being burnt at the stake. The moon, their own bright satellite, held a constant fascination, and became their base for exploratory flights across far galaxies.

One man, Atallus discovered the secret of the white goddess when he found the canister half-buried in moondust. The canister contained artefacts and primitive attempts at reproducing the beauty of nature. He had seen them, examined minutely the different creations. Visigoth wise men and wise women assumed the canister had been shot into space from a distant planet and were for sending out a vessel to discover which one.

Atallus though, knew better. Standing in the motionless dust, watching his blue planet as it turned slowly, bathed in the light of the sun, he finally understood why it appeared so strangely unfamiliar. This dead rock, that lived in legend and story, bathed in glorious silver, drawing up the tides, filling the Earth with women’s magic, was the key, the gateway, the place where worlds touched and nothing was as it seemed.

He bent and picked up a handful of dust and fragments. This was here. It was also there. The primitives who had stuffed the sum of their achievements into a tin can and tossed it into space in an act of arrogance and pride, populated his planet. They were on another plane, so close they breathed the same atmosphere, but they were invisible. Except from here. Here the worlds touched. Here, with moon dust about his ankles, Atallus saw their Earth.

Atallus grinned to himself. No need to scour the universe for conquests. No need to travel light years into the unknown. There was conquest here, so close at hand he could see it with the naked eye. The moon goddess showed them the way. His engineers would plot a path from here to there, passing through the planes of being and entering a new world—their world, that he would make his world. After a thousand years of idleness, the Visigoths were on the march again.

Can of dreams

My response to Jennifer Knoblock’s poem in response to the MoonArk article. Link to the article on Jennifer’s page.


A can of dreams washed up in pale, dry dust,

Among motionless shreds of unshed moonlight,

Filled with tiny drops of blood and words,

Images and oh so dearly crafted outpourings.

Who will leave their prints to over-pattern,

Obliterate the spider prints of wordy, worthy poets,

The colour-collaged dapplings of artistic souls?

The slender, sophisticated fingers of our hopes,

Gentle and wise, our saviours from the great beyond?

Or the coarse paw of some cosmic Hun,

Standing triumphant on the useless, sacred moon rock,

Gazing upon our tender, teeming, rudderless blue,

And crushing our flimsy can of dreams,

In an all too familiar barbaric fist?

200 word story: Bethlehem


Nothing changed. Aeons passed. The trajectory, traced in advance, led always into the darkness. The comet dragged its fiery tail through whistling winds that wove between the stars singing over and over the same song. Stars were born and died in explosions of light that echoed back and forth across the roof of the universe, and still the comet streamed, a river of fire through the void. Salamander. Winged. Ageless.

A beat in time, the comet tore across the horizon of a tiny insignificant planet, a dead rock spinning slowly around a paltry sun, in the wings of the great universal stage. For one instant, men looked into the darkness and saw glory, heard the song of the stars, looked upon the face of infinity. The comet passed. Fire blazed in its wake. Eyes followed, longingly. Hearts yearned to tread the paths of the skies. In a turbulent desert the fingers pointed, stories flew from tongue to tongue. A legend grew.

The comet, with its cargo of singers and celestial brilliance sped by. Time passed. Men forgot why they had yearned to follow the winged salamander. The comet with fire in its tail saw the birth of a billion stars.