Some things just are

The NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a creation story. Since I’m in haibun mood, here’s another one.


We work backwards from now, and we ask how, when? Precise questions that produce precise answers. But if we go back to that moment billions of years ago in the silence and cold of nothingness, and we ask, why, what answer do we get? Some say it was the start of the divine plan, a slow-growing plan that filled space with brilliance, and we, in the arc of our tiny spark of light, an insignificant star in a small, run-of-the-mill galaxy on the edges of the wonderland of the universe, wound through swampy fantasies and frozen stagnation before settling into our unsettling and unsettled ordered chaos.

Others ask, but what was before the beginning, what was the nothingness and why was it? If there was no time before the blue touch paper burst into cosmic sparkles and jubilant noise, then nothingness was infinite and eternal. Silence and cold. Was the divine plan in cogitation, or was the divine planner in embryo, to be born (from whom?) out of a need to explode the nothingness and paint a canvas for it to explore?

Perhaps there is no answer to the why question. Perhaps some things just happen, like catching a virus or not, growing up wild or conformist, having seventy-three rosettes or sixty-seven (if you’re a jaguar). Some things have no why or how, they just are. Like love.


Ask not the blackbird

why she feeds a hungry nest—

it’s what mothers do.


For the Secret Keeper’s weekly writing prompt

The prompt words were:



What inspired the mind

That worked the night and moulded space,

Sculpted the cold and made a world?

What power there was in breath,

Heavy with a thousand gases,

Bright with the fizzing lights of fission and fusion,

To produce the ever-swelling ocean,

That rolls to the edge of eternity and beyond.

Was it desire to create a masterwork,

Or was it simply the need to be?

Not enough to be the dark,

The pulsing nothingness of the void,

Not enough to feel the cold, bitter and unchanging,

Not enough to be the only thing.

I, though, hold a daisy in my hand,

Delicately, between forefinger and thumb,

Close enough to see the yellow flecks of dusty pollen

Glinting, sunspecks,

While the dripping globes of last night’s rain

Shine bright as any star.

Did you not know that this was enough?

While you howl in some black hole,

Some brilliant nursery of new stars,

An explosion, implosion, radiating pulsar,

Among the fierce, unknowable colours of your space garden,

I watch the rain fall upon the daisies.

Three line tales: Cosmic vengeance

Thank you Sonya for a great photo prompt. I love these NASA images.


For billions of years, the star had been forming on the outer edge of creation, pushed further and further into the darkness as the universe expanded into eternity.

Other stars grew bright and fierce, spawned planets held in thrall, nurtured life and settled into their constellations like so many happy families.

Anger and hatred at its ostracism seethed beneath the surface, in the magma bones, of the deformed star, and when the time was ripe, it heaved around in its erratic flight, a cosmic bomb, and hurtled inward, onward, Earthward.


This one is for Ali and Merril, for making me laugh.


Meet Llandudno the Cosmic Chicken.

You might not believe this, but only a few minutes ago I pushed two Jehovah’s Witnesses off the doorstep with the words “We worship Llandudno the Cosmic Chicken in this house.”

They couldn’t have annoyed me at a more propitious moment.


A Christmas Story


Perched upon one of the pillars of creation, the eagle spread its wings and gazed across the valley of night. Stardust formed clouds of glittering lights, decorating the dark depths of the nebula. In its claws, the eagle clutched one of the nurseries where stars are born, the sanctum of life. So long it had watched over the emerging stars, seen them scatter, grow in brilliance and fire. It had watched them fade and die too, seen the black holes swallow them up, the dwarfs fight and merge with one another. So long. An eternity.

A billow of gas, a twisted wreath of green and red, tumbled across the dark valley, singing the songs only the stars know. Years and years and years it stretched, the garland of lights, joined by others, blues and yellows, reds and oranges, starfire and starwater. Each point of light a star, each star, dust-specked with planets. This one, the eagle’s eye noted, will bubble itself an atmosphere and teem with hot-blooded life. This one will dance and sing, a ball of violent, brilliant gases into its allotted span. All different, all unique. All so ancient from the moment of their birth with the memories of all that has gone before, hurtling with their grains of eternity into the great, ever-expanding vastness of time.

The eagle stretched its wings and the universe stretched with it. Somewhere beneath a silvery bubble of gas, voices were singing to a dead creature on a tree. The eagle stretched a claw and another bubble spun and twirled in the bright garland of stars. More voices singing to another creator of their pinprick of light, ancient and distant. The eagle listened. The darkness vibrated with the songs of the stars and the piping of living things giving thanks for their creation, to their indifferent, unresponsive creators.

Aons passed in the blink of a star’s eye. The eagle ruffled a feather, and brilliant balls of gas, infant stars, twisted and twined about the central pillar of the nursery, like a garland of lights around a dead tree. Lights. Twinkling on and on forever.


Photo: Galactic silhouettes


They say they are stupid, the raptors,
No intelligence sits behind that piercing gaze,
No master plan guides those perfect wings,
The functioning of beak and talons.
Not so the robin waiting for the spade to turn the soil,
The jackdaw collecting bright baubles to admire,
Starlings mimicking the call of other birds,
Their songs a riotous travesty.
To even up the chances, they say.
Brain versus brawn.
When I look into the changing arc of sky,
Obscured by cloud or densely netted stars,
Where man’s intelligence orbits in complex metal ships,
Powered by opportunist, acquisitive, wily buffoons,
I cannot help but wonder at the raptor,
With cruel eye devoid of compassion and any pondering,
Hovering on unseen wings that span the universe,
That holds our fate in its monstrous claws.



What power, to take a star,
A brilliant sphere of fire,
Concentrated into the purest light,
And shatter it,
Sending sparks and shards of pure white fire
Across the black reaches of the universe.
What artist created such beauty,
Such astounding glory?
No hand is raised in answer,
No voice calls, present, rolling louder than the thunder.
Only silence falls from the overarching sky.
And in the great pulsing heart of the cosmos,
Where matter and antimatter and quarks are made,
In the great heart where stardust and unicorns grow,
Silence sings to the ears of memory,
The ancestral songs that course in every atom of our blood,
And the great wheel turns unaided.

First stars


First stars
Dead now
Light from so long ago
So far away
Still glitters.
Of billions
Of years
Before God was born
The first stars shone
And watched the universe roll and stretch
And a myriad galactic colours grow
And flicker
And die.
Pure and elemental
Reached into the darkest cracks
Between the struggling starbursts.
Light was
That had no need of fear and prostration
To create a dream.

She finds a place in the pattern


I cannot be the earth and turn away from winter cold

or the new sun’s strength to stir the sleeping shoots

and warm the ruffled feathers of a winter bird.

I cannot heal a million hurts with my untutored hands

or ease away the pain in every heart.

My fingers do not guide the pen that signs the paper

my quiet voice will never reach across the world.

I can only be what I was made

and shape my thoughts the only way I know

to sing the beauty in all things

that creep and fly and fight and love.

And at the end when all that can be said is said

and all that can be done is done

as all the stars in my receding sky

go out and fall into the darkness one by one

I will turn to you, my sun, my light, my life

and slip into the circle of your arms

the stilly calm where I have found beginning and an end

the centre and the confines of my universe.

The old man and the river



The old man sleeps rough

and stands for hours watching

the play of light and half-light

on the ripple-patterned water.

Banks of leaves of red and gold

drift crisp and dry against his shoes

as he stands to watch beneath the clouds

the ripples in the river.


Along the bank the squabbling gulls

dip and dive to snatch at bits of bread.

Their noisy brilliance sleek and white

hangs bright against the grey of rainy skies

a short-lived dance that curtseys to the wind

while the dimpling water ripples on and on.


Seasons change and chill winds blow

and sunlight’s pale as ice and glacier-cold.

Still he stands among the leaves

to watch the endless river pass

with wind-drawn patterns on its skin

and narrow shadows cast by drifting birds.


Above his head beyond the blue

in the silent darkness filled with stars

the great wheel turns and turns and turns,

rolling from sky to unseen sky

with rivers of comets in its wake.

He stands and watches time flow by

his feet the pivot of the universe.