A Poem for Hiroshima Day

The Necessity of Hiroshima: why we must believe

Act I

in The Year of Decisions, our savior Harry asked

“a committee of top men”
Men all carved from the same superior
Aspen, carefully lathed of their
“to study with great care”
care. Eviscerated as children, smiling
beneath strange fruit. They died for
“the implications the new”
the new; our idolatrous messiah. Our
silicon steel colossus will consume
“weapon might have for us”
us, our civilization. As surely as
Saturn Devouring His Son.

the scientific advisers of the committee reports:

“We can propose no technical demonstration likely to bring an end to the war;
we see no acceptable alternative to
direct military use.”

Act II

And so, 65 years ago today, an orange cloud blossomed above a city full of them for our salvation.



And in the end, today, we must believe
in the bomb
in its righteousness, its compassion, its justice.

Because the thread of the necessary Hiroshima
and Nagasaki
is woven through the cloth of Iraq, Afghanistan and Deepwater Horizon

to pull that sacred strand is to unravel the torturous tapestry of our exceptionalism;
to send 200,000 burned, irradiated bodies crashing through the streets of
our city upon a hill

Source for Truman quotes: Deaton, Paul, “Hiroshima Day 2010 in Iowa”  accessed at http://www.blogforiowa.com/blog/_archives/2010/8/6/4596871.html

Comments (3)

  1. Josiah Garber

    You should read ‘Christianity and War’ by Lawrence Vance. It reminds me of this post.

  2. Tim Baer

    I think this is genius and I liked the way it assembled. I just wonder what the reference to the Deepwater Horizon was all about. It seems like what you are saying is “Our arrogance and inflated sense of self worth is what makes disasters possibles.”

    If I’m right in my assumption, I agree. However, I thought the illustration of including three modern day events takes away from the piece as a whole. As a writer I may have included one war, a reference to our landfills, multipl-televisions, etc, etc. Because, I think you’re right, the Necessary (capitalization important) Hiroshima is how we justify our lifestyles. The act of justification, of undeserved righteousness, is what allows us to sin. Perhaps the Deepwater Horizon has even less to do with that idea then drinking 3 Cokes a day or owning more cars then household drivers or something similar.

    I’m glad the US sent a delegation to Hiroshima this year. I understand why the bomb was dropped. In fact, it may have even been the choice that resulted in fewer casualties than any other. However, it was still the wrong choice because it sent the whole of humanity on a course best avoided.

  3. TimN (Post author)

    Thanks Tim Baer for your compliments and criticism. Point take on Deepwater Horizon and two wars as not the best choice. I wanted to connect it with modern day righteous hubris, but probably could have chosen more variety in my examples. Unfortunately, its not for a lack of them.

    I recognizes that the lack of editor is one of the downsides of blogging. But at its best, I have the advantages of some community editing this way. I appreciate the thoughtful feedback.

Comments are closed.