Three Creation Poems : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture Here are three poem-like pieces that address the origins of the universe, of life, and death. The idea is to use the imagery of modern science in mytho-poetic form to inspire further reflection on these topics. A different kind of posting.
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Three Creation Poems

I´m in Rio, working on a book with the Brazilian theologian and friar Frei Betto, a leader of liberation theology. We are to talk for four days about science and faith and the result will be transcribed into a book. Unfortunately, at least for now, the book will only be in Portuguese. But I wanted to share with you three short poetic-narratives on "origins," which are part of my book A Tear at the Edge of Creation. In the final book, they were edited into narrative poems. Here, I show them in their original form.

Their goal is to bring forth some of the ideas and images behind the science of origins, in particular the origin of the universe and of life, but in mytho-poetic fashion. The pieces are teasers for the discussion that follows. Anyway, here they are.


There were no witnesses

to what was about to happen.

“Happen” didn’t exist;

Reality was timeless, permanence.

Space didn’t exist.

The distance between two points was immeasurable.

The points themselves could be here or anywhere,

hovering and bouncing.  Infinity tangled into itself.

Suddenly, a trembling

a vibration

an ordering began.

Like roiling waves, space shuddered and swelled.

What was near became far. What was now became past.

Space was born with time.

Mention space and we think contents.

Mention time and we think change.

And so it was.

Space bubbled; time unfurled.

Matter coalesced from the joint heaving of space and time,

seeping out of its pores.

But hold on.

This was no ordinary matter, no mundane substance

Like us.

This matter stretched space,

made it inflate like a swelling balloon.

This balloon became our Universe.

2. LIFE!

There were no witnesses

to what was about to happen.

There was water and there was earth;

Inert matter rained from the skies.

Heat scorched the land, dried the seas.

The world was aglow. Smoke choked the air.


What air was this? What land? What seas?

Tremblors rumbled the roiling soil, mixing.

Waves lapped the land, mixing.

Some things sank; others bubbled up.

Then, a time of cooling; ephemeral peace.

A surge of combinations and reactions; slime in motion.

Accidental shapes; random splitting.

A chaining of stuffs; an attraction of likes.

A growth that outgrew others,

encompassed others.

Circling and twisting it became two.

And so it was.

Two became four, and grew.

Life began; or something like it.

Not like us

But us nonetheless.


3. Fear of Darkness II

An old man sits in the dark

thinking of his dead lovers.

Night had fallen fast, faster every day…

A star blinks in the distance. An invitation to eternity?

Invisible worlds so far to see.

Do they still love me up there? Are they stardust now?

He dreamed of certainties

where none exists.

Hoping to fill the emptiness,

He looked beyond and saw nothing.

An owl screeches in the distance.

The old man smiles. He is still here.

He picks up the phone. Who should he call?