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.
LET ME TELL YOU HOW I DIED
PART I – SEGMENT 6
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 7 – coming soon!
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.
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.
Harrowing, impressive poem, MB. I think your use of the first-person adds to the devastating effect.
Thank you – harrowing is the perfect word to describe this subject.
Very moving poem.
You describe this horrific event very well M.B. I see why you had to stop.
It’s a tough subject for certain. People who write books about it must have a stronger constitution than me!
I know I couldn’t do it. Peace.
Excellent poem! You certainly captured much of the essence of that time.
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.
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.
Well written, so poignant and moving.
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.
MB: Anxiously awaiting the next segment. I recommend you go to https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com and look up the discussion of GP Cox’s post “Truman and the Pacific War.” I think you will find it interesting.
Oh yes – GP Cox has an excellent blog and I’ve read that post. Good stuff!! 🙂 Glad you liked the poem!
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!
Humans like to learn things the hard way!
Don’t they ever… 🙁
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.
What is most sobering is that humanity’s reaction to Hiroshima was to build bigger bombs.
Talk about never learning the lessons!
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.
Neither can I. One of the many dark chapters of history indeed.
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
It’s a sad truth you speak 🙁
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.
reminds me of the VN vets
sharing their experiences
back in the 70’s, before
they returned back to the US 🙂
I bet that would be very powerful to listen in on.
Very powerful and still with emotions.
wow, MB this is the most emotional of the bunch. the worst way to die…
It’s hard to even imagine!
It resonates with me. I’ve seen war before, lived between the bombs. I know what the sound of one falling near your home feels like.
Oooh… that’s very scary. I’m so sorry you had to go through that!
It’s been a long time… about 16 years or so, i guess.
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!
That would be indeed wonderful, but I fear someone always has to have a power struggle. It is ego and ignorance that gets in the way of everything. Hugs
Truth!! (A sad truth… but truth)
Yes it is.
Thank you <3
That IS devastating, MB. I can relate to your decision to end your research. It is inconceivable what humans do to one another, yet it never ends.
Yes -you are absolutely right. It never ends, that’s perhaps the biggest tragedy of all.
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This is chilling. Have you read James Kirkup’s poem ‘ No More Hiroshimas’? You can read it here: http://www.angelfire.com/dragon/erzulie/No_More_Hiroshimas.htm
I posted a comment just now but it had a link to another poem, so may have gone into junk?
We were able to fish that out of the junk folder -so sorry, not sure why it did that! 🙂