the colour of our lives

poetry • celebration • faith • nature • humanity • imperfections • glory


“Sulphur isotope data from early Archaean rocks suggest that microbes with metabolisms based on sulphur existed almost 3.5 billion years ago, leading to suggestions that the earliest microbial ecosystems were sulphur-based.”

microfossilsBreathing sulfur, Lucifer’s contrail settles,
flaming, to Earth, tiny acrid engines
building his deep domain to fight a beauty
growing by the Day. Heaven splits from
Earth, and  falling becomes possible;
the Deep is molten, heaving; a
primordial evening and morning pass,
and again; the planet breathes, flourishes
before the Liar finds his reptilian disguise
and brings the brimstone upward. The
tiny traces of creation’s alien dawn
brim in stone, clues for the diligent.


Wacey, D., Kilburn, M.R., Saunders, M., Cliff, J. and Brasier, M.D. 2011. Microfossils of sulphur-metabolizing cells in 3.4-billion-year-old rocks of Western Australia. Nature Geoscience 4, 698-702. (

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7 thoughts on “early

  1. …so I set out to write a science poem, a kind of midrash on a non-sacred text, and end up writing about Satan. Weird.

  2. Isn’t it funny. I guess it was the sulfur that was the subconscious connection? The Creator has made all His works symbolic of His other works, and every atom contains some cosmic pointer. I read an article about the sulfur eating bacteria but it didn’t spark anything; I am glad it did for you. (Or did this come from some other source?) It seems lame to me to give the same old comment I give your poems, but this is really good.
    This reminds me a bit of The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin.

    • Definitely the sulfur. I even found it strange that it ended up being religious – not my initial intention either. I haven’t read Walter Wangerin, but have been very inspired by Annie Dillard, who is about as poetically sciencey as they come. The authors of the article are at the same university as my day-job alter-ego.

      • and I haven’t read Annie Dillard, so I will find some of her stuff and check it out. It is odd how whatever your intent your subconscious, or something higher, can force you into directions that you did not expect. Kathryn tells me it is the same with sermons.
        I was struck a while back that in the verse in Ephesians that goes something like “we are his handiwork created for good works that He prepared beforehand for us to walk in” the Greek word for “handiwork” is poetas, from which we obviously get the word poem. We are his poetry; actually I think the whole world is his poetry, something like the quote you have by Ursula k. LeGuin on the right bar thingy.

  3. this is so thought-provoking!

  4. Pingback: Occasional Poetry No.7 | dissolution

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