Poetry Break – “Let Me Tell You How I Died” – The Bomb

When I first began research for my historical fiction novel about World War II, I wanted to include a scene that dealt with the bombs.  I collected many materials – first-hand accounts, histories, etc. and got to work.  It would be a very emotional experience for me, much more so than I expected.  Stories from survivors about these two attacks left me devastated and disturbed.  I could barely handle the accounts of it, I truly cannot even imagine having gone through it in person.  My heart cracked so deeply that I had to stop the research, and my plans to include the bomb in my narrative were scrapped.  Because even as a writer, I could not find the right words for this event.  All I managed to eek out was this poem.  I think it’s important that we always remember these events – for they should never… EVER… be repeated.



The Bomb

The only warning we got was a flash

Before Hiroshima was turned to ash

A flash like lightning, it seared the flesh

It burned us hot, made our skin and clothes mesh

Then the bang blasted everything apart

Buildings, churches, and people’s hearts

The mushroom cloud towered in the sky

Seen from miles away with the naked eye

Hiroshima turned from a great city of old

To a burned out, black, and nuclear hole

Thousands of corpses burned down to the bone

Many people left wounded, forsaken, and alone

The screams of pain from the heat and burns

The city’s on fire while the fallout churns

No water to be found to quench our thirst

Of all the ways to die, this is one of the worst


I was walking the street on that horrible day

Along came the flash and I was blown clear away

Turned into vapor, I vanished from sight

But I left you my shadow to remember my plight


To Be Continued… 

This is the second-to-last segment of the first part of a big giant poem I wrote over a few months (the next two parts cover WWI and the Civil War – stay tuned for those next year!)  The last segment of WWII will be up next!  But before you get to that, read the previous segments here: 

Intro and Segment 1 – The Blitz

Segment 2 – Stalingrad

Segment 3 – Pearl Harbor

Segment 4 – Normandy

Segment 5 – Iwo Jima

Segment 7 – coming soon!  



63 Comments on “Poetry Break – “Let Me Tell You How I Died” – The Bomb

  1. We recently went to the Air Force museum in Dayton and saw the plane that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki, along with disarmed bombs like the two that were dropped that August. Pretty tough to look at, quite honestly, MB.

    • Yes – I totally agree. I’ve been to that very museum and seen that exhibit as well.

  2. World War II stuff is always so evocative, and for me, nostalgic – though it was before my time, my father and uncles all saw lots of combat in the war – my dad commanded tanks in the Battle of Okinawa and served in many Pacific Theater hot spots. My parents loved big band music and I can’t hear it without thinking of them. Thanks for another grand post, MB! 😊💕

    • I couldn’t agree more about the nostalgic – even though it was well before my time, my grandpa was in the service and he always told me a lot of stories. WWII has been a vivid subject for me ever since. Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. That event was so unimaginable. Reading your poem I had flashbacks of all those photos of the city that once was, the suffering survivors and those ghostly shadows. It’s so important for us to remember….

    • I very much agree. The more we keep something like this in our memories, the better chance we have to not repeat. And we can NEVER EVER repeat.

  4. Your poem personalises what is an almost unthinkable horror. All wars are terrible but incinerating a city of civilians? How did we ever get to that.

    • It’s a question many historians have tried to answer in a variety of ways, isn’t it? It’s so awful that the civilians have to pay the price and in an unimaginable way such as this.

  5. Oh wow. That last line is really powerful. I also love (am so saddened) by this line: “Then the bang blasted everything apart/Buildings, churches, and people’s hearts.” I read Hiroshima with my middle school students when I taught them. That event is so horrifying. You were so good to write this poem to help us never forget and hopefully never repeat this type of thing.

    • I’m glad to hear you are passing on the education as well with your students. Being a teacher is a very powerful thing! It is so very important to remember our history. It is especially important in these days of saber rattling and division. May we learn from our past one of these days…

      • Yes, I agree! My goal is to help students develop good arguments and good dispositions, no matter what they believe. That’s what we need to get us out of our current mess we are in.

    • Oh yes – GP Cox has an excellent blog and I’ve read that post. Good stuff!! 🙂 Glad you liked the poem!

  6. Just read this and the previous. You are so right that only by keeping these horrors vividly alive can we hope to avoid them in the future. People forget at their leisure and then deny culpability when atrocities are repeated. I fear the cycle is beginning anew. Your work is poignant and powerful. Thank you.

    • It sure seems like an uncertain world today doesn’t it? Its also crazy because really these terrible things did not happen all that long ago, and already they are slipping from memory!

  7. The genocide of the ordinary citizens, Even if somebody insist history that oneself is convenient, it is Never justified.

    • Agreed. Humans have accomplished such great things. Why can’t we find a way to settle differences that doesn’t involve killing?

      • We can do it,it’s Easy.
        Because there are people who want to make money in the WAR. Currently they are expressed as “Deep State”. It is not a conspiracy theory, they themselves are written in autobiography. Alternatively, it is published in an official document. People who learn history only from movies,comics,education,someone’s talking etc…can not understand. Killing is done against civilians. The ruling party Never die in the war. Citizens must learn who “Deep State ” are. Then, we civilians can stop Killing to citizens.

  8. This is heart wrenching. I can’t imagine the sheer terror these people felt and endured before death. Thank you for reminding us why this should never happen again.

  9. Mans’ inhumanity to man is as old as humanity, MB. And if we can’t somehow reverse that reality, we will end up destroying ourselves and possibly much of life on earth. Your poem is powerful. Thank you. –Curt

  10. Whoa! All the parts to this poem are grim, and sad, but this one almost moved me to tears. It reminded me of John Hershey’s “Hiroshima”. Well done.

    • That is very flattering, thank you. Honestly it was hard to write, and I questioned whether or not to publish it given its grim nature. But I decided that remembering is more important! Thanks so much for stopping and sharing your thoughts.

  11. realistic portrayal!
    reminds me of the VN vets
    sharing their experiences
    back in the 70’s, before
    they returned back to the US 🙂

  12. This evoked so many feelings in me and thoughts. Sadness of what it must have been like. My mother lived through the war and was only five years old. The stories are bone chilling to consider the fear they lived with not knowing if they would see another day.
    You tackled such a tough subject, yet with so much heart. Thank you. 🙏🏻

    • I’m glad the poem moved you – what that must have been like for your poor mother 🙁 It was a time of such terror and destruction – I wish humans could learn from our past and stop destroying one another!

  13. Pingback: Poetry Break - "Let Me Tell You How I Died" - Part I Finale - An Old Soldier - M.B. HENRY

    • We were able to fish that out of the junk folder -so sorry, not sure why it did that! 🙂

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