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On this day, the sun

Appeared – no, not slowly over the horizon –

But right in the city square.

A blast of dazzle poured over,

Not from the middle sky,

But from the earth torn raggedly open.

Human shadows, dazed and lost, pitched

In every direction: this blaze,

Not risen from the east,

Smashed in the city’s heart –

An immense wheel

Of Death’s swart suncar, spinning down and apart

In every direction.

Instant of a sun’s rise and set

Vision-annihilating flare one compressed noon.

And then?

It was not human shadows that lengthened, paled, and died;

It was men suddenly become mist, then gone.

The shadows stay:

Burned on the rocks, stones of these vacant streets.

A sun conjured by men converted men to air, to nothing;

White shadows singed on the black rock give back

Man’s witness to himself.

Agyeya and Leonard Nathan (1911-1986)

On August 6th and 9th, 1945, the cities of Hiroshima and

Nagasaki were destroyed by the first atomic bombs used in warfare. 

NOTE TO SELF:  Sixty-one years later it appears that we haven’t learned

much at all.



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