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.

© Bhi 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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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!


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.


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

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