Saturday, June 29, 2019

Chernobyl and our fears

Hello fellow friends of the pond, here is Björn with June's last prompt

The other day I wrote a poem imagining how it would feel like to die from radiation poisoning:


The sky was different
the day the birdsong ceased,
(as if they knew)
it carried in itself 
a tepid hue of sick blancmange,
That day my skin was drizzle-glazed
but yet
It had not bloomed 
in radiation rashes yet
my inner organs had not given up.

They came the morning after
to lock me up
to observe my symptoms
to learn how blood may boil.

I’m waiting 
in the company of two-way mirrors
from my only window, still, I  see
the staring moon,
a solemn gaze tonight 
that’s veiled behind 
a cataract of poisoned cumulus,

tonight I’ll cease.

but still I know 
that many more
will come to fill my void 
to melt like me.

Not an uplifting topic, but the recent series on Chernobyl made me remember those days when news was breaking
and we all had to look at the spring around us with different eyes.

As you might know, Sweden had one of the largest downfalls outside Sweden, and also non physicists had to learn
about words like Cesium, Becquerel and milli-Sievert. 

I particularly remember the drizzle falling on the morning of April 30 1986, I was still a graduate student back then,
and the knowledge of what had happened in the Soviet was just breaking mingled with the wonderful sense of spring
and the joy of returning daylight created an eerie atmosphere.

Looking back at the time I also realize how much it created change and breakdown in the Soviet Union. 

Today Chernobyl has become a tourist attraction, the nearby town Pripyat is both a time-capsule back to the old
Soviet, a stark post-apocalyptic place and a reminder how nature can reclaim what has been taken by humans.

I love the contradictions around this, at the same time Nuclear Power is needed for us to counter carbon emission
that is probably much more dangerous than the radiation pollution that has been emitted. 

Maybe the fact that death from radiation is so much more immediate, as well as its link to cancer and genetic
disorder which seems so much worse than the seemingly increase if death from natural causes that is tied to
the fossil fuel industry.

I am not expecting you to go fully activist on this prompt, but rather make your fear of the unknown deaths
that’s linked to breathing and eating. If you want to be specific and focus on Chernobyl and the breakdown
of Soviet Union that is also fine with me, but remember that the failure of the systems was the result of
corruption, which is not only a communist problem. It’s a human problem.

If you prefer to talk about the fear of a nuclear war that is also fine by me.

When you have written your new poem, please add it to the link. Visit and read the other poet’s contributions.


brudberg said...

Hello all... I look forward to your poems. Show me your fears.

Jim said...

Bjorn, I have a deathly fear thst I may write about. Probably tongue in cheek. I feel though, that most of the Toads take me too seriously and think I'm not writing poetry. But this even being stupid is a real and lethal fear that I have.

tonispencer said...

I am writing about not fearing nuclear holocaust, about not living in fear. And no, I do not live in fear.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow, an interesting topic, Bjorn. I have been intrigued by how, once humans were gone from Chernobyl, even after the accident, how it was able to recover and how wildlife reclaimed it - a very hopeful note. I love your poem which takes a dark topic and imbues it with much beauty. I would love to be able to manage that as skilfully as you did.

Kerry O'Connor said...

This topic is very much a part of current events and political dialogue. Here, in South Africa, there is much talk of nuclear power plants becoming a way of the future, not in itself a bad thing but in a climate of rampant corruption, it has become a terrifying prospect. i loved your poem when I read it earlier this week and I am so glad you shared it here, and gave us this topic to think about.

Yvonne Osborne said...

I love this prompt and your poem. The recent series on Chernobyl was so chilling, the deaths so horrid. I will think on this one...see if I can add anything.

Azka Kamil said...

awesome article.
thank for sharing & have a nice day