Origin Story

This time last year, on a Skype call to my Seattle family, I was shown a painting by my then 13 year old granddaughter, Natalie. It is so glorious it inspired a whole poem, so much fun to write. In August, I published a new collection, It’s Only a Matter of Time – even though time, as such, does not exist. It was officially launched by the Dead Good Poets Society of Liverpool in December, at the MerseyMade Cafe in Paradise Street. So, happy February. Enjoy!

The Whale Creates the Universe – oil painting by Natalie Kennedy

Origin Story

for natalie

In the beginning

there was a whale

big and blue and beautiful

perfectly big

beautifully blue 

Alone in an ocean of nothing.

Or so it seemed.

And in the beginning

there was a universe

so infinitesimally, 

illogically small

that no impossibly 

large whale

could ever know, 

or understand

why, or where it might be. 

And the universe floated

alone in the ocean of nothing.

Or so it dreamed.

The whale moved 

in perfect peace

throughout the silent space

Quite unaware of the presence 

of the infinitesimally tiny 

Insubstantial universe 

Blissfully resting

Alone within Its silent

lack of being

anything more 

than being 



And since there was 

no day or night

the absence of light

signified nothing more

than freedom to move

for the whale who swam.

And its tail began 

to swish back and forth

and the sound was

perfectly swishy

if illogical because 

what was there

to swish against?

Nothing but perfectly 

nothing. And yet—

The motion of swishing swished around

The whale began 

to perceive a sound 

and something stirred

inside its heart.

Like the start of a  feeling,

that tickled its mind 

and it found itself reeling

with a kind of a knowing 

that its perfect body

with its perfect tail

had created something

out of nothing—

out of nothing but itself.

Out of nothing 

but itself 

and the nothingness

of the void. 

And the sound shimmied 

around its body and fluttered 

across its fins.

It brushed its nose

as the whale turned and tumbled 

through the darkness,

till the tickle became a giggle

and the giggle became a guffaw

and the guffaw gurgled

and gushed

from its giant mouth

in a rhythmical, tonal pattern of sounds

that merged with the swishing

Till then the whale 

found itself wishing

that such a wonderful sound could be shared —

If only —

If only —

There was something else there.

and so it was, 

right there and then

even though there was

no when

that the whale created song.

And as the whale swam 

and its tail swished

the veil of nothing

began to shift

and the whale sang

and its heart lifted

feeling resistance

a form of insistence

that nothing was moving

while everything changed.

And somewhere, somehow

from the deepest depths of its 

infinitesimally tiny beingness, 

the universe felt a shiver –

a shock of a shake

and it began to crack 

and to creak

and to cleave in two.

Just in time for the whale 

to swim through

and the song shivered      

and shook each piece 

till a river

of universal smithereens

smashed  and crashed 

into being

a glowing


festive flowing 

showing of itself 

in the trail of a whale. 

So it was that the whale 

swam on

and sang on.

And in its wake left 

the makings of galaxies

planets and stars

meteors and matter that is

and isn’t (as far as can be seen)

there at all.

On and on the whale sings

and swims,

swishing its tail

fluttering its fins,

rejoicing in the sound 

of its voice,

never looking backwards

because there is 

no back or forth

no south or north

no up nor down

no in or out

in the endless nothing that is

and is not—nothing.

And still the whale takes enormous pleasure

in constantly bringing 

into being

the stuff of the universe.

The universe which forms 

and endlessly reforms

all the while tirelessly 


to return

to its once upon a time


tiny, dream of itself.

Flloyd Kennedy

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