The Universe Awake

by Monim Wains

No sound, nor light, nor existence at all.
The universe idled, in a trance. 

It wasn’t still, though, not perfectly so,
Growing from the tiniest speck to the size of a room, to size of the sky, and space, and time.
It was evolving, and changing, and turning, all the while asleep.

Because, for all that was happening, as all came to be, sentience was glaringly empty.
All was dull without eyes, faint without ears, numb without touch.
What could see, or hear, or know, without any form with which to think?
All was black, and still, and nought.

And thus it stayed, as aeons passed, a comatose womb.

Until one day, something clicked.
There was a shift – more a rift – a jolt in the timeline.
With the gasp that escapes when you jump out of a dream, the cosmos was shaken awake.
Out of nothing, there came light.
Out of the empty, there was sound.
Amidst the vacuum, there was life.

Behold! Adam was awake.

Suddenly, it was dazzling, as the sky burst aflame.
A thousand tiny beacons of raging burning light pierced pinpricks in the fabric of the night.
The stars had been lit and were inaugurally seen.
The crashing and coursing of the waves was heard, as they whipped and cracked on the shore.
The rumble of Jupiter, as its mass rolled by.
All was heard, for the first time.

On this little blue dot, which we call home, the universe had awoken to itself.
And with wondrous eyes, it searched, into dark bowels of space,
Into nebulae of chaos and beauty,
Into the guts of its orbits and systems.

You, don’t you see, are the eyes.
You are the ears with which the earth can hear itself.
You are the heart with which the cosmos feels.

From the emptiness of the randomness, you are a pocket where the dice have had a critical roll.
Where matter has endowed matter with sense and being.
What else but us is a who?
The accident of nature become aware.

Such a folly, then, to forget –
Such a loss to see anything but a marvel –
Such woe to be disunited.
We are but a moment where the universe has come alive, the universe ensouled.
You are the dust of stars, the heat of fire, the lightning of the clouds, put together so the universe can be.

When you look with the universe’s eyes into the eyes of another, you see its own soul.

Every moment you look out, into the sea, the sky, the stars, you are nascent creation.
Creation, like a new-born opening its eyes for the first time, seeing that it has fingers, learning how they turn and fold and twist.
As we learn the pull and the push and the dancing of the stars.

What more unity could there be than looking into another pair of eyes and realising this?
That you are the universe looking out, and it is creation staring back.

That we are the universe awake.

The Poor Print

Established in 2013, The Poor Print is the student-run newspaper of Oriel College, Oxford. Written by members of the JCR, MCR, SCR and staff, new issues are published fortnightly during term. Our current Executive Editors are Siddiq Islam and Jerric Chong.

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