Treasure Island

Pete Crowther

(Hull, East Yorkshire, England)

Finding Comfort in Cosmology


The universe, they used to say
exploded once from a tiny point
and all the bits—
planets, stars and galaxies
shot out like bullets from the centre,
expanded outward into space
and everything moved away
from everything else.
They prophesied that gravity at last
would slow things down,
all outward movement stop,
go in reverse
and then contract
again, back to a point—
a singularity so small
it must explode
so “Bang”—a new universe
is born again
and so the cycle endlessly
repeats—expand, contract
like breath, the process
somehow seems comforting:
it seems to say
that life goes on
even though you are not there
to enjoy it.

Cosmologists are fickle creatures
for now they say
it doesn’t happen quite
like that, instead the universe
just keeps on expanding
forever and ever,
each star, each world
getting further and further away
from its nearest companion in space,
diminishing and dwindling,
moving away out into space,
faster and faster
for ever and ever
dwindling, diminishing,
becoming colder
and colder, and
lonelier and lonelier.
This is how, they say,
the universe will end
or rather will not end.

I think I prefer
their latest speculation
where multiple universes
are born from black holes
billions of them bubbling and frothing
like frogspawn.
I favour life
over death.

Submitted: Monday, April 25, 2005
Edited: Tuesday, June 06, 2006

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