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Showcase: Flowers Are My World + Prophetic Writing + Jupiter

Edited by Clara Khan

What do you find beautiful? This is such a broad question, as there is beauty in different things and what one finds beautiful someone else may not. For me, some of the most awe-inspiring beauty can be found in the natural world. But why is this? Why is the sight of a majestic mountain or a field of flowering florets so pleasing? For me, one of the reasons is because it’s something so beyond human capability – a natural occurrence humankind can never replicate. This is not to say humans have no part in aiding the process and progress of the natural world but, that there is a limit to what we can do. The natural world is so full of colour, power and enormity that all we can do is look back in awe and utmost respect.

Human-made creations have a different sort of power. While there is certainly beauty in the power of things like AI, questions of its limitations will always exist. Will it make us over-reliant on technology? Where does human creativity fit into it? Can it ever be destroyed? Ultimately, what we create will always be fallible; nature, on the other hand, can be perfect. Its power is limitless and that in itself is beautiful.

The pieces chosen this week highlight the beauty of nature against AI. They show personal connections with the natural and unnatural world and how a life can be lived with and without it.

This first piece exemplifies the various ways in which humans are connected to flowers and their symbolic nature.

Flowers Are My World

Flowers are truly nature’s gifts with their distinctive growth and incredible charms.
Buds glow in every colour spectrum shade with fusions of unconditional love.
They are admired for their bliss faith, shape, holiness as well as a good omen.

The seeds cultivate the soil within in time they grow to their pride and glories.
Their gentle petals scatter like natural confetti that dries and perishes in good time.
They flourish and sway in the wind like magic in the air, bringing elation to everyone.

Bouquets bring joy to birthdays, weddings, illness, and truly symbolic for funerals.
Their silence brings melody to the air as peaceful as birds tweeting and rivers flowing
Every season gives reasons to have or buy them, like the wind they come and go.

I am mesmerised with the birds in my garden chirping on the Magnolia branches.
I feel relaxed watering flowers especially uplifting them during the heat wave days.
Be it daisies, daffodils tulips, orchids, lilies, hydrangeas all stunning with their unique looks.

The red poppies grew in the trenches like bloodshed dots giving the soldiers hope.
Poppies figurative the wartime and peacemaker for Armistice day, truly symbolic.
Flowers fine tune our senses instantly like running fingers across the piano keyboard.

Flowers bring smiles to faces leaving happy memories in their short lived floral moments.
Their Fragrances were dominated since ancient times truly symbolic for the modern era.
Their natural innocence and goodness attract animals, birds, flies and butterflies.

I find roses passionate, stunning, careless handling pricks from their arm like thorns.
The bees spring on flowers and suck up the nectar like their gold deposit it in their comb.
Evergreens gives green shades to winter, when hollies spring symbolic to Christmas.

I wonder what the world would be like without flowers, just land, seas and buildings. 

© Karthy Sooraj, 2024

Connect with Karthy on Facebook: Karthy Sooraj


This second piece is a fantastic personal essay on the fears surrounding AI which can be traced back through history.

Prophetic Writing

It’s a subject I’ve touched on before, but I’ve been reminded again recently of how sci-fi writers have often foretold, or been the inspiration for, current technical developments. Open AI, the pioneers of artificial intelligence, have just announced the latest version of their GPT-4o chatbot. Its mindboggling features include instant answers to questions, humour and even flattery; alongside all the usual attributes of linguistics, mathematics and visual image manipulation. It can even look at and comment on anything that it is shown via a camera. It’s hard to remember it’s just a computer program and not a real person, but that’s the truth. It might appear to be sentient, just as some people who want to dominate the world say they are, but sentiency requires something else: moral values, a conscience and a soul. GPT-4o is a great tool, though; that is, if you want a constantly cheerful assistant, that knows all the answers and appears to be trying to put you out of a job – in the nicest possible way!

All this recent talk of chatbots and Tesla bots prompted me to dust off my old Isaac Asimov paperbacks. He was a trained biochemist and wrote textbooks on the subject. Asimov was also agoraphobic who  spent most of his days at a typewriter during the 1940’s and 50’s writing sci-fi novels and short stories about space travel. His total output was about 500 publications of all kinds. A brilliant mind obviously has no boundaries.

Robots were a favourite subject for Asimov. He didn’t exactly invent them, but he did write the Three Laws Of Robotics that anyone else who ever wrote on the subject felt compelled to follow. One of his short robot stories was about a professor who objected to a robot being ’employed’ at his university to check galley proofs of work being prepared for publication.  He was so against robots he contrived to prove that the robot had made changes in a manuscript, detrimental to the professor’s reputation when the book was published; thus allowing him to sue for heavy damages. It’s an interesting story called Galley Slave and I recommend it.

The professor loses his case and is exposed as a fraud, but his final cry after the trial was a prediction of what would happen if AI robots were given too much power. It was his conviction that robots should not be allowed, because they would eventually destroy human creativity and the will to create anything that might be imperfect. Written in 1957, it’s a perfect description of where we stand at the moment in the development of GPT chatbots. In actual fact, the latest versions of Large Language Models far exceed anything Asimov predicted. The danger of human creativity being usurped by AI is extremely high. Whether Asimov secretly agreed with his creation’s views is debatable, but I suspect he did.

I, for one, agree whole-heartedly with the sentiments of the character and have already written on the subject. I’m one of the few who’ve never had a Facebook account or used Instagram or any other of the several (anti-)social media we’re supposed to follow. I belong to that generation that requires a ten-year-old constantly on hand to help me operate a smartphone, computer or to order train tickets. I was terrified of using a telephone when I was a teenager, having never used one. Now I’m terrified of the ****thing ringing and being somebody who wants to cheat me out of my life savings. I can now expect to answer the phone and hear the voice of a near-relative scream for help and a large sum of money! It could even be a video call and I could see who it is. Except it probably isn’t and is a criminal using the latest GPT to create an avatar with the perfect voice of my relative. Is this the result of technical progress? Perhaps the latest AI is more sentient than the bottom-feeders of humanity who use it to defraud other humans.

© Vic Howard, 2024


My third piece is a short story on how we can find connection through those just like us – whether human or animal.


Jupiter had been bought for a few pounds at the town livestock mart many years ago. Alice had originally gone to buy some lambs, but the quality wasn’t good. She sat close to the front of the ring, amongst the flat capped and overalled men, dressed in wellies, sludge-coloured tweed and gaberdine. They glanced at her and a few nodded. She was Odd Alice to them, not really seen as a woman, but respected for her knowledge of animals and herbal medicine. Many a local farmer had knocked at her door for a remedy when they couldn’t afford a vet and, like as not, the bottles and jars of liniment, poultices or drenches worked, whatever was in them. She was dressed like a man as usual, her slight figure clad in a boiler suit and an old overcoat belted with a man’s tie. The thick black and silver braided rope of her hair fastened with an ancient scrap of ribbon. She sat quietly; coarse, reddened hands folded into her lap like roughened dry leaves. Animals came and went from the sales ring, but nothing caught her eye; everything was too expensive or too poor-looking.

She had decided to go home when the mixed lots of odds and sods started coming through. It was getting to the end of the day’s business and all the good stuff had gone. Suddenly, a filthy brown pony was chivvied into the ring by a fleshy-faced thug waving a stick. The young pony charged around the ring in a blind panic, half wild from rough handling. Its thick winter coat was plastered in dried mud, eyes rolling in terror, small ears flattened to a plain head with a broad, dirty face. The crowd was thinning out and there wasn’t much interest. The auctioneer was ramping up his monotone chat, trying to get a bit of attention, saying it could be a useful riding pony and was well bred. A small ripple of laughter ran around the ring at this. A lad from the riding school walked away; the pony was too young, too wild-looking and too much work for him. Soon, the only people bidding were the meat man hoping to pick up something nobody wanted at a knock-down price, and a lean-looking, dark-haired man who looked to Alice like a traveller. He knew about horseflesh, and watched the pony careering round with a keen eye.

The reserve price was too high, so the traveller decided to bow out. It was the meat man’s bid. The pony was still being chased round the ring while the auctioneer was winding down his chant. It stopped in front of Alice, coat dark with sweat, legs trembling and eyes full of confusion and fear. She raised her hand mechanically, and the meat man shook his head. The pony was too thin anyway. The hammer came down and the pony was hers. She sighed, shrugged and got to her feet.

By the time Alice had been to pay eight pounds at the auctioneer’s office, it was dusk. The pony was tied to the back of a cattle wagon and the thug was impatient to go home.

“Does he have a name?” Alice asked, putting her hand up to stroke the pony’s neck. It flinched and trembled as she ran her hand over the matted, greasy fur. He shrugged and said something she couldn’t hear, untied the rope and handed it to Alice. The wagon roared off and Alice and the pony were left in the mart car park, with the last few cars and trailers rattling off into the late afternoon sunshine.

It took two hours to walk the pony home. It had never been led anywhere and its feet were a mess, overgrown and painful. His mane and tail were matted with lice, shit and straw and his belly bloated with worms. By the time they got to the road above town, the stars were out – the milky way a silver, quivering net above them as they walked. The only sounds were the pony’s soft breathing and the padding sound of his unshod hooves. Alice talked to him about the planets and stars and his ears moved backwards and forwards, listening to her low voice.

A barn owl drifted past silently, flying low over the fields, hunting. It turned briefly and looked at them, its beautiful white, heart-shaped face like a ghost. The pony was exhausted and Alice stopped for a few minutes at the plague stone which marked the beginning of the open moorland. He dropped his head to drink from the rough shallow trough at its base, lifting his head slowly, water dripping from the shaggy fur on his chin, too tired to flinch when Alice stroked his shoulder.

“Not too much further now, and we’ll be home,” she said.

It was slow progress gaining his confidence. It took Alice six weeks to be able to touch the pony’s head without him rearing up and rushing to the back of the barn, snorting and quivering. Gradually, she was able to groom him, washing his tail and combing burrs from his mane so it fell in a silky black curtain down his neck and brushing his coat to a burnished dark conker colour. His feet took longer; months of visits from the farrier eventually got them trimmed back to normality.

Jupiter spent day and night out on the fell in the summer;  in winter he came indoors at night, always waiting at the gate. When Alice opened it, he would trot stiffly into the barn, whickering at her as he came towards her, automatically making for his stall. She would fasten the gate and spend a few minutes talking nonsense to him. She never tired of this: the artificial light on his soft, mossy coat, the sound of him pulling contentedly at his hay net, his muzzle white with age now and his sturdy, woolly legs knee-deep in thick straw.

© Brigid Griffin, 2024

Connect with Brigid on Instagram: @brigidgriffinwrites


If you’d like to see your writing appear in the Write On! Showcase, please submit your short stories, poetry or novel extracts to:

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