Sunday Poem

Chaos Theory

I heard a scientist
say the flutter of
a butterfly's wing
could cause a tornado,

that the theory of
cause and effect
has been shaken to the roots,
that we cannot reduce

hurricanes, floods, the knife edge
of a lightning flash, anger
or an accidental death
to a neat equation.

The Greeks got it right
after all it seems,
we are born from Chaos
spat out on a sea of pot luck,

Chaos who spawned mother earth,
the sky, oceans
from her clay haunches,
the ocher dust of her giant thighs.

Move one decimal point
the scientists said and our lives
run on a different course,
instead of hope there is despair

or the carrot fly blighting
a near perfect crop. In the
silent pond a thousand tadpoles spawn
beneath the shadow of a stickleback.

Like schoolboys knocking
marbles in the asphalt yard
we ricochet off
what life throws up

fall like yarrow sticks
of a Chinese soothsayer
straw blown in the gusting wind,
hinged on a fluke of chance.

by Sue Hubbard
from Everything Begins With The Skin
Enitharmon Press, 1994