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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Four December 2022.
from Thermonuclear Sonnets, Poems by Graham Allen.
from Thermonuclear Sonnets
It is neither mushroom nor cloud.
It is the death of belief,
the nightmare you can never accept,
the terrors of the mother before birth,
the insanity of the secret killer.
Look at it. Not as you look on the moon,
or a painting by Renoir, or a new car,
not possessively, not with hunger in your belly,
but, rather, as a familiar object,
created by the wringing of a billion hands.
This is the end of all light, all love,
the instantaneous eruption of evil,
levelling every house that was ever built,
marshalling death into universal logic.
It is not a weapon, it is the end of all
weaponry, the abolition of all violence
in its pure transcendence. This is the horror
of war obliterated, the great cry for mercy
in the blind eyes of God. This is the corruption
of all innocence, the death of love
in the face of a flattened future.
From now, until the swell of the sun
evaporates all we know, there is no more
hope, or mystery, or freedom, just
an aftermath that persists beyond record,
irresistible paralysis of the dead
and the dying, your ragged children,
forlorn mass under an unforgiving sun.
It is a machine for reversal, turning everything
upside down, so that the ground is thrown
up into the air, the mighty Sun is eclipsed,
cities of movement and commerce
turned into cities of death, ossuaries
where only the wind remains. Life-giving
rain now a poison, once breathable air
turned radioactive. Destroyer of logic,
warfare transformed to a ghostly peace,
targets turned to universal hurt,
the night turned to the brightest day,
victory crushed tight within complete defeat.
The mind that plumbed the secrets
Of the galaxy, a whimpering, dribbling mute.
© Graham Allen
Graham Allen is a Professor in the School of English, University College Cork. Professor Allen is an award-winning poet. His poetry collections The One That Got Away and The Madhouse System are published with New Binary Press, as is his ongoing epoem Holes. http://www.holesbygrahamallen.org/