Category Archives: Poetry

Author Skywalker Storyteller talks about her new book, “The Ultimate Wonder: World Stories Illuminating Death”


It’s certainly not a book genre. It has few fans, and it’s not a topic we typically seek out in our reading choices. We seldom want to think about it. Yet it is inevitably our common experience, regardless of where or when we live or whether we are kings or peasants (or if we talk, bark, or meow).

Sky payneIf you’re reading this, you’re still walking the Earth (go you!), but you have probably shared in the death of someone you care about or are facing such an unavoidable future event. If you yearn to make peace with that, or just be enlightened, you have to read The Ultimate Wonder: World Stories Illuminating Death by Skywalker Storyteller, an uplifting and unique collection of stories from around the world that show how the people of various cultures have faced and learned to accept life’s last great mystery.

I’ve been a fan of Skywalker Storyteller (a.k.a Skywalker Payne) since I first stumbled into her blog a few years ago and began reading her essays, poems, and stories. In addition to being a gifted writer, she is as original and fascinating a character as you’ll ever come across. I’ll let you discover for yourself as you read the brief interview and learn about her and her work in the YouTube videos posted below.

~ Eric


sky payne book coverEJB: Tell us about the concept of The Ultimate Wonder: World Stories Illuminating Death.


Skywalker: I wanted to share a selection of stories I told a few years ago on my storytelling website. I feel that they can help people face and accept this one, last experience of life we all share.


EJB: Describe the spiritual journey that led you to write this book.


Skywalker: It really wasn’t so much a spiritual journey as a storytelling journey. But, I do practice Tibetan Buddhism and my practice influenced me to begin the podcasts and write the book. I have a YouTube Three Minute story – My Journey to the Ultimate Wonder [see below] that explains a little more.


EJB: How did you go about collecting, adapting, and sorting the tales for this collection? Beyond the unifying theme of death, they’re quite diverse and illuminating in different ways.


Skywalker: When I began the podcasts, I first found stories I had told on the theme of death and then chose some, particularly the African ones, that I had wanted to tell for some time. And yes, as you noted, death is the unifying theme, but I was able to find different themes within that and then group stories around larger ideas, such as “Death is a Nurturing Woman” and “Resurrection.” All of these stories have been retold by me, and for many, I found more than one version. Also, for all, I gave characters names, researching names within the cultures that the stories originated. I also include a couple of original tales.


EJB: The framing device for the stories in this book—that of the storyteller before an audience—is interesting and unusual. I know you have been a professional storyteller in the past. How much of that character is based on you and your experiences?


Skywalker:  Well, I’m still a storyteller and I am the storyteller in the book. I wanted to give readers as much of a storytelling experience as I could in a written form.


EJB: Who do you think should read this book and what do you hope they gain from it?


Skywalker: I actually think people of all ages will enjoy reading The Ultimate Wonder. It is arranged in such a way that people can pick and choose the stories that interest them. It’s a book that is perfect for families—as older members can select stories for children and then those children can later return to find new stories to read. What I trust readers will gain is a new view of the end of physical existence, that they will be able to share my understanding of life’s last great adventure as the ultimate wonder.


The Ultimate Wonder: World Stories Illuminating Death is available on Skywalker’s website (follow the links there to your favorite bookseller).


Skywalker’s other website and blog are here. Do check them out! And here are some short videos further explaining the book and giving a sample of one such story:



Star Wars … retold entirely in Haiku!

Haiku? This is madness!

Haiku? This is madness!


Words scroll up the screen

Something about “Death Star plans”

Please pass the popcorn


Rebel ship is chased

Giant spaceship fills the shot

“Get in my belly”


Chick in a white dress

Talking to a garbage can

Oops. It’s a robot


R2 has the plans

Robots take the escape pod

Darth Vader looks pissed

Peripheral vision is for losers.

Peripheral vision is for losers.


Down on Tatooine

Gold bot has sand in his pants

Here come the Jawas


Luke works on a farm

With no animals or crops

This is the hero?


R2 does it all

C-3PO speaks “Bocce”

Buy one; get one free?


R2 runs away

He’s chased by a floating car

I want one of those!


Meanwhile, up in space

Vader chokes his co-workers

What will HR think?


Sandpeople shake sticks

Luke gets scared and passes out

This is the hero?


Obi-Wan saves them

He gives Luke a light saber

I want one of those!


Uncle Owen dies

Aunt Beru is baked alive

So much for Luke’s chores


Quite the wretched hive

Mos Eisley is not for wimps

You might lose an arm


 A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, men wore disco clothes, and their friends were naked. Or it was just the 1970s.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, men wore disco clothes, and their friends were naked. Or maybe it was just the 1970s.

They meet Han Solo

His ship made the Kessel run

Less than twelve parsecs


Off they head to space

Robots, ape man, and three dudes

Sounds like a good time


The princess won’t talk

How to teach her a lesson?

Blow up Alderaan


The Force cries in pain

Obi Wan says “Suddenly”

Twice in one sentence


Say, is that a moon?

We’re caught in a tractor beam!

Does Han still get paid?


death star

The Death Star is huge

They find Leia right away

That was pretty odd


They jump in garbage

Rather than run down the hall

They deserve squashing


Lasers everywhere

Storm troopers can’t shoot for shit

I blame budget cuts


Storm troopers fall dead

Plastic armor is useless

I blame budget cuts


The chasm is too wide

Leia kisses her brother

Ew. They swing across.


Darth and Obi Wan

Grampa-speed light saber fight

Obi-wan pops off


Luke is so depressed

A guy he met yesterday

Vaporized himself


Meanwhile, the princess

Her whole planet was destroyed

Double-u tee eff?

"Luke. My entire planet... everyone I've ever known or cared about... has just been obliterated. But here, have a blanket.

“Luke. My entire planet… everyone I’ve ever known or cared about… has just been obliterated. But here, have a blanket you poor thing.


To the rebel base!

But the Death Star followed them

Tricky S.O.B.s


Han get his reward

Apparently plastic crates

He’s easy to please


Attack the Death Star

It’s a suicide mission

Best scene ever filmed


Luke is all alone

Until Han Solo comes back

Darth Vader goes “Whaaaaaaat?”


Luke uses the force

His lasers turn a corner

That would never work


The death star goes BOOM

Luke and Han get gold medals

Chewy gets a bronze.

Haiku limericks… and other vapid verse

Let’s be clear: This post does not offer Haiku. It offers limericks—Haiku’s inbred second cousin—about the Japanese poetry form. However, I’m sure the hypothetical Haiku I’m discussing would be lovely if we could only see it…



A man once wrote some Haiku

He thought it was brilliant, too.

It turns out he blundered

His readers all wondered,

“What, is this guy sniffing glue?”


Haiku’s made of 17 bits

It sure can give some writers fits

When in such a funk

Writers tend to eat junk

Which later gives them the… gastrointestinal distress



Who writes a poem about poems?

Strange thoughts under cranial domes

Surrealistic scenes

No one knows what they mean

Not even old Sherlock Holmes


I have to admit it is true

I have no more to say on Haiku

I doubt you are sad

You might even be glad

Since the three poems above this one blew



I think we all can agree

Focus in writing is key

I should be creating

Not procrastinating

As I sit here binge-watching TV


I haven’t got too many vices

Neither smoking nor drinking entices

But if you happen to bake

I could sure use some cake

Though anything with sugar suffices



Being a governor is handy

Using people as pawns is just dandy!

But can Chris Christie handle

When it turns to a scandal?

And we forget about Hurricane Sandy?


“I want every voter in reach,”

The governor said in a speech

He closed lanes to a bridge

While raiding his fridge

Now he might get impeached



Do people really look like these folks?

Or is it some Photoshop hoax?

If I’d shown Chris Christie

Would you have dismissed me?

Lord knows, Haiku pics are jokes!


Bloggers are searching for clicks

We’ll try all kinds of tricks

It seems such a shame

When our content is lame

That we lure people with pretty pics