split atoms and broken suns
woke up to find the sun hidden behind thick cloud and lightning on the horizon
should we celebrate our mastery of the word,
its perfect physics syntaxed to explode,
assault all lands disdainful of our generous intellect?
its plutonium whips daily strip this earth raw,
dryly disclaim each bonded ego’s cry
to star in their own fiction, be fed with awe.
every sun day our sullen orchids – finely crisper’d – bloom
unhygienic knives; their smoking plume
splicing every unambitious whine,
as we try to disguise our own deficient past
beneath the magnificent rising crowns of dust –
war prosecuted, we monger, speeds progress into our peace,
and we forge on, pretending our atomic fruits will green,
create from our toxic wastelands an eden whole again.
but can we mask the sharpness of these decaying bones –
flesh flayed, souls unwinged, splayed
and etched into the paving stones,
terrified monuments we attempt to hide
as tourist traps, guiding, scrabbling past, in unseasonal waves,
the accusing intransigence of their unnamed graves –
flagged scurrilous sods, heavy anchors to our prospects
of realising Hegel’s high bench of success?
this is no place for bone, authentic bone,
the unfleshed rags of dust too proud to weep
for treads heavy on the earth a devilled heel,
its tongue shrieking blood and empty jugs,
and the planes of pure flesh, a corpse of faith,
peeled luminous in the atom’s rage
linger fading in its dying fields, afraid to sleep
afraid to die thinking another fire awaits.
there will be no ships real or imagined
to heal our abortions, this shrieking earth:
we nurture death howling in its leash
thinking we can shroud its prospects closed in our fists.
only nature’s spring, reborn untamed, can unleash
its womb’s green soap to wash clean, shatter
our unscrupulous fiction, pluck our myths
down to the honest bone and make us real.
Wow! I like the sentiments of this. So true.
You know the worst part is that so many present souls are unaware (From a lack of nurturing? From a lack of education?), and they don’t give a fig.
I never feel qualified to critique phraseology, but this is such an important (and I can tell, heartfelt) piece, that I feel it could be more powerful for a bit of tweaking…… But these are your words and thoughts, not mine, and I stand by my first reaction: Wow!
Glad you liked it, Allen. I was afraid that it might sound a bit like a rant, but then my temper cooled and the poetry began to emerge as I worked my way through the lines. I have tweaked it a bit since you read, and will refine it further.
To me this echoes the great Romantic poets and is powerful verse. I believe you meant to write: “There will be no ships real or imaged” in the last strophe.
Thanks for your comments, CW. This is one of those poems on my list which have been fermenting for a while, and then the other day, I just sat down determined to rid myself of this one demon; this was the result.
Did i misuse “imagined”? I will check again.
It’s just a trifle Bhi, but i meant to write that you seemed to have left out the word “be” in that sentence.
Since I was about 18 I’ve had a recurring dream (not a nightmare) about standing on a hill with a friend watching the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion rising in the distance. I generally wake up at this point feeling relieved and thinking “not yet thank God.”
I doesn’t happen often, many years in between but usually something in the news triggers it.
This poem kind of summarises the feel of my dream
Dreams are strange creatures – btw don’t believe the one about eating cheese late at night; not true – and this was was inspired by a dream that i had after watching Hiroshima, Mon Amour. Probably someone out there will have some insights into what sort of person this males me out to be!