Poetry – Tiny Blue Jewel

Tiny Blue Jewel

A tiny blue jewel

                Floating in the dark.

An atom in the midst

                                                Of a sea.

Home for us all,

                Everything that lives,

                                A wonder

                                                Lost in eternity.

Everything related

                In a wondrous web

                                A marvel

                                                Of glorious harmony.

Opher – 9.5.2021

I never get over the wonder of the universe, its immensity, and our life on this tiny planet, an insignificant speck, an atom in an ocean.

Yet on this speck is all the life that has ever been – supporting itself and each other in a complex web.

We are part of this incredible unlikelihood. Amazing.

Poetry – Out of the Unknown

Out of the Unknown

Out of lightning into reality.

Out of chemistry into biology.

Out of nothing into life.

From the darkness into light.

From the mindless into thought.

From lifeless to where it’s rife.

Opher 11.4.2021

There are many great mysteries. One of the biggest is the question of how life arose.

How did a bunch of chemicals become infused with life?

What strange reaction occurred to imbue inorganic molecules with life?

In a universe full of wonder there was nothing to see, hear, touch, taste or smell it. All that incredible majesty was unnoticed.

Then came life and the light, sound, touch, smell and taste came alive. The unverse had a witness.

Over billions of years this life was honed through mutation and evolution into the myriad forms we see around us. Each one a wonder.

This is incredible.

I live.

I walk. I eat. I breathe. I see. I think.

I am conscious.

Nobody knows how.

I find that too amazing for words.

Some invent god to explain it.

Why replace one incredible wonder with another?

Just marvel at it.

That is enough.

Poetry – Secular Ritual – How Wondrous

Secular Ritual – How Wondrous

Human beings have a great need for rituals. We go in for uniforms and pageant. Our rituals tend to be militaristic or religious. Dave Kingsbury (of the great blog – A nomad in cyberspace) thought that it would be a great idea to write some secular rituals that acknowledged the wonder of life; rituals that did not require belief, religion or celebrate violence.

It sent me thinking.

This is what came out. I’m not sure if it’s a poem or a secular psalm. I see it as part of a humanist ritual.

Secular Ritual – How Wondrous

Wondrous it is to open your eyes into this universe of beauty.

Wondrous it is to behold the splendour of the stars, sun, rocks and trees.

Wondrous is the ecstasy of life.

For with our eyes we see,

Our ears we hear,

As all our senses penetrate

The mysteries that surround us.

The wonder of moon and sun,

Of sunset over sea,

Of grass rippling in the breeze,                         

The splash of stars

Across a velvet heaven,

The sigh of love,

The thud of drums,

Vibration of strings,

The tinkle of water over rocks,

The crash of waves,

Skeletons of trees against an orange sky,

Shapes of clouds against an agonising blue;

The oranges, yellow, reds and greens

That flood the eyes with beauty –

The wonder of life.

Opher 14.3.2016 (For Dave)

Poetry – Complex


I am complex.

Out of the simple

I select and combine

To refine

A being who is me.

I am sophisticated.

In a universe of simplicity,

Where basic is the rule,

My cells reflect

A more learned school.

I have structure

Beyond the crystalline;

A fluidity

Of biology

Incorporating chemistry divine.

In a world of laws

I buck the trend,

Initiating change,

Creating giants of order

In full organic range.

Out of this new chemistry

I am full of sparks,

Evolving spontaneously,

Awareness of planets,

Energy and quarks.

There is nothing simple

About me

Or my complexity –

But I think,

And that is still a mystery.

For me life is not divine –

Not constructed to a plan.

Life is self-perpetuating change,

Creating consciousness,

Just because we can.

Opher 31.12.2015


It is not because I am a biologist that I find the phenomenon of life, consciousness and the wonders of biological chemistry an amazing mystery; it is because I find these things marvellous that I am a biologist.

We do not have all the answers to the creation of life and its evolution into conscious beings. We may never have. But I like to think that one day we will; we will pierce all those mysteries and decipher the truth. Science is still in the dawn of its discoveries. A century or two ago we could not dream of understanding so much as we presently do. If anyone had suggested back a hundred years ago that we might one day know the operations of DNA, genetics, black holes, quasars, quantum mechanics or subatomic particles, they would have been considered mad. Most of those things were not even known.

Now we understand so much and are on the brink of so much more. Exciting times! In the next hundred years we may understand how consciousness works. We may understand the Big Bang and what lies beyond – beyond both the Big Bang and the event horizon.

I do not need divine intrusions of deities to explain the mysteries. That idea is, for me, mere human fantasy – an attempt to explain what we do not understand by imagining further layers of enigma. Many mysteries of the past have been fully explained, the rest, I believe, will follow. We have the intelligence and ingenuity. The world has been proved not to be flat. There are no angels in the heavens. There is no hell below the earth. These were myths. They have been dispelled.

Humans love to track down our mysteries and shackle them with explanations – no matter how bizarre.

Nowadays it is the religious fundamentalists who are still the apes. The rest of us have evolved into rational beings.

Perhaps there is a mystical dimension? But I believe that all scriptures, the works of men, contain little of it. The mystic buzz of the atom has no purpose for human beings. We are merely part of its flow.

Life and the universe are mysteries. The wonder is in the probing. The wonder is in the experiencing. The wonder is all around us. Science releases the wonder.

Poetry -Incandescent Days

Incandescent Days

Incandescent days beneath a nuclear globe,

Worshipped from days long gone,

Creating green explosions on the crust.

No gods to implore but iron to rust

And chemistry to leave within the dust.

Hydrogen to helium

And energy to burn

Upon the mantle of our shelf

As quarks are rearranged

To radiate through space

And illuminate ourselves.

Excited electrons create the air

As pigments dance in ecstasy

To where

They are passed to the chemistry

That dares

To change its state.

For change is the law

And all our fate.

Opher 3.7.2015

Incandescent Days

This planet revolves around the sun. In man’s earliest days it was a thing of wonder, bringing light, heat and life. It had to be a God and was worshipped. The beliefs were that the rituals could unlock and control the powers it possessed.

Our ancestors were wrong in many respects but, even so, the sun is the giver of all life.

The sun’s heat was sufficient to melt ice and liberate vapor. Water is the medium of all living things. None can live without it.

The sun’s light caused photosynthesis to produce the oxygen we breathe and liberate our thoughts. With the energy it donated to us we dissected its secrets and learnt that it was no god and our powers could not touch it.

Life is change. With each day our bodies transform from egg and sperm to death. In millennia we evolve. And the sun itself must change. The giver of life will one day turn destroyer but its passing may produce life for others to evolve on distant worlds.

For we are the stuff of exploding stars.

Poetry – Wonder of life

Wonder of life


Accumulation and compression

Giving light and heat.

Nuclear reaction

Dancing to the beat.


As a universe comes alive

We hear, see and touch:

Spawning life and consciousness

Without which, there isn’t much.


Straight out of the atom –

The substance of life

Pours forth into the cosmos

Until all life is rife.


Opher – 19.12.2019



I sometimes imagine a universe without life, with no eyes to see its stars, no consciousness to wonder at it.

All that majesty, all that might, all that wonder, with nobody to appreciate it.

What a waste that would be.

I cannot help thinking that it is us, all life on earth, that gives the whole universe meaning. Without us there is no-one to ponder, love and glory in its staggering scope and glory.

The universe is a wondrous place. At least we are here to appreciate that.

More But Not Enough – Poem about the wonder of life.

More But Not Enough


More galaxies than grains of sand on every beach.

More stars than can be counted or imagined.

More time than has ever been.

More space than can be crossed.

More dreams than can fill a head.

More awe than we could ever wonder at.

More than enough mystery to last forever.

Yet not enough life to even risk a guess.


Opher 9.6.2017



I wrote this after watching a programme about the beginnings and beliefs of the Islamic Death Cult of ISIS and their literal acceptance of selected texts from the Koran. They interviewed one of their Jordanian architects. He recited texts and called them the word of Allah.

He disgusted me.

He sanctified slavery, butchery and torture using words from the Dark Ages. He claimed, unflinchingly, that they were gods instructions and superior to any laws of man, that humanity and compassion counted for nothing.

I wondered how any mind can accept these words without doubt as to their origin. I wondered at what brainwashing had taken place to create such blind acceptance.

The Koran, Bible and all other religious texts are artefacts from an ignorant, uneducated age. Those books were written and compiled by people, not god. They come from cultures who were misogynistic, nomadic and tribal and it shows.

The world is full of mystery. It is an adventure of great wonder. To use moribund texts from the Dark Ages to justify misery and horror is obscene. Life is short. It should be a journey of love, music, happiness, friendship, dance, art, nature and writing, not of hatred, division and violence.

These people, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu and whatever, who put their faith in relics from the past are missing the mystery of life. Theirs is a waste of a life; a journey of death. True meaning lies in discovery and wonder.