This little story was the winner of the RedBeard Bakery 50 Words Microfiction Competition, at the Words in Winter Festival, Trentham, Victoria. It is up by link on the Word in Winter site, but I thought I’d post in here now. Prize winning entries in the other categories can be read here. The story had to be exactly 50 words long; hence the rather clipped tone! The theme was ‘Origins’.


It was hidden in the op shop, behind fifteen copies of Fifty Shades. First edition Darwin. Original Origin.

He grabbed it from me, paid $5, and ran. I followed, did only what was necessary, and reclaimed the book.

It sold for £100,000.

That’s only fitting, if you think about it.

PS Cottier


I also have a micro-poem just published in Award Winning Australian Poetry (Melbourne Books) which is being launched in Melbourne on the 30th August, at the Athenaeum Library in Collins Street, at 6pm. I went last year and it was a great launch.

So, after two micro awards, I’m obviously getting big in a small way. I received $200 in vouchers from a great bakery in Trentham for the story, which probably works out at a large roll a word, and will have to drive down and stuff myself some glorious and calorific day.

And on another note, over at Overland there’s an extended debate about whether ‘bush poetry’ deserves to be included in ‘Best of’ collections. I find it fascinating how this sort of debate tends to attract so many more men more than women; what is it about definitions and certainties? But, anyway, here’s my less than serious contribution.

Mayweather v McGregor was more entertaining
than trying to know poetry by explaining.

It’s all so pugnacious.
(Is rhyming contagious?)

Next week: post-structuralism summarised in a limerick, and semiotics in a haiku.

And on yet another, far less frivolous note, send a thought to the home of real haiku, who just had a missile sent over their northern island.

Science and Poetry

September 1, 2010

Three poetry books were recently launched containing poems on scientific themes.  They are called Law and Impulse (maths and chemistry) Earthly Matters (biology and geology) and Holding Patterns (physics and engineering).  The project was called Science Made Marvellous, and organised by the Poets Union Inc as part of National Science Week.  All three books were edited by Brook Emery and Victoria Haritos, and the whole project was organised by Carol Jenkins.

I have a poem about Galileo in Holding Patterns and two about the Darwins (Emma and Charles) in Earthly Matters.  As an innumerate, I found the fact that I have a poem in the physics and engineering book more than funny.

For a limited time the books can be also downloaded as free PDFs from the Poets Union website at  .  (Sorry, you’ll have to copy and paste.)

Here’s my Galileo poem to whet (or blunt)  your appetite.

Galileo’s dance

Liquid turned hard, glass turned to heaven

and you saw that we must be mutable;

changed the rock sure eye of earth

into a speck, one amongst the masses,

all moving. They locked you down,

house-bound, a threat to galactic security;

to a solidity that had already mutated,

as they might have melted you on fire,

a terrorist of unrepentant reason.

So silly to say you were a still centre

from which ideas flowed. No, no,

you went far further; questioning the

questioner’s position, pulling security

blankets away from under fatty,

fixated minds of certainty.


describing detail,

you precisely put an end

to the lie that we are the answer to all.

Others would follow in the ark of wonder;

Charles waltzing hand in hand with Albert;

broad ramp providing access to genius

on wheels. Moving, always moving,

accelerating now in race-track science,

or rockets sifting star-flour for other, further Earths.

But you, with your glass, your eyes,

your paints, you showed the way.

Your gravity can still be detected,

for four hundred years is barely a blink,

a twitch in this dance without choreography.

Swinging on, we too shift, stare, move and parry

and recall long leaps first performed in Tuscany.

P.S. Cottier