A History Of Dust

‘The Dust” Brooke Shaden

I grew up believing that we were, all of us, made of dust.

And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

― Genesis 2:7

Then , I studied science and learned that we were, in fact, made of stardust.

The particles in our bodies have been in existence for billions of years. They will persist for billions of years after we move on. And, these particles were all forged in the nuclear fusion fires of stars. We truly are made of star dust.


But then, I studied great literature and learned that words were the only things that would last beyond the dust of our flesh, whatever type it may be.

“For if we’re destroyed, the knowledge is dead…We’re nothing more than dust jackets for books…so many pages to a person…”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and adventures are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten.

― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman

And that in this life, it is better to burn than to crumble.

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.

― Jack LondonJack London’s Tales of Adventure

Still, perhaps, in the end, we only discover truth by accepting our own infinitilism, a concept without any limit and unboundedness, the idea that a thing can be anything.

“The seeker after truth should be humbler than the dust. The world crushes the dust under its feet, but the seeker after truth should so humble himself that even the dust could crush him. Only then, and not till then, will he have a glimpse of truth.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

Today, my poem “Astronomical Dust” was published on Spillwords. Delicate words, and like a spider web, I have no assurances of their longevity, but I would be honored if you visited the site in this space and time to read them, and if you feel inspired, please leave a comment on this topic.

A huge thank you to the editors at Spillwords for featuring my poem, and for combating the dust that settles upon any volume of wise words left unread.

© 2022 | K.Hartless