Hiroshima deserves far more than a fleeting thought

Peter Crownfield is officially retired but spends most of his time working with students in his role as internship coordinator for the Alliance for Sustainable Communities–Lehigh Valley.


As our national leaders continue to expand nuclear weapons and expand the “Defense” budget, this deserves far more than a fleeting thought. See if someone from LEPOCO could provide a more complete statement.

For now, I’ll offer this poem written by Lisa J. Parker, then a sophomore at George Mason University.




Nine seconds
of red air
crashing through blood and bone
melting gold caps and wire glasses.
Twisting every bike for as far
as you can see.
If you can see.
Burning flesh, driven by blind eyes
into the relief of scalding water.

Nine fingers on a newborn’s hands
no thumb to suck for comfort
Mother’s milk sour with radiation
crying into ears burned deaf.
Doctors who will never recover from
what they’ve witnessed:
Skin melted over empty eye sockets
dangling from arms like a shedding
dog with three legs.

Nine suns on one spot of earth.
A man coughing ashes
gray and white bone flakes that whirled people apart on
scorched wind.
And we gag at Hitler’s crematorium?
I was taught that Hiroshima
was a symbol of American triumph,
The A-bomb made a mushroom cloud, and
World War II ended.
There was no discussion.
There were no pictures of people writhing in agony,
mutated babies and eyeless witnesses.
Only a black and white of the mushroom cloud
reminding me of cotton candy.

In college I learned
Those who can not learn from the past
are condemned to repeat it,
and I’m wondering now why
someone taught me nine was just a number
and the bomb was victory.

© 1994 Lisa J. Parker and Echoes Magazine

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