Poem of the Week!
The final one in our sequence from October Poet Mario Petrucci. I've found them terrifyingly topical, what with the resurgence of the nuclear power debate and the controversy over nuclear weapons. Makes you want to go out and join the CND.
Ukritye ('The Shelter') is the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl complex.
Even the robots refuse. Down tools. Jerk up
their blocked heads, shiver in invisible hail. Helicopters
spin feet from disaster, caught in that upward cone
of technicide - then ditch elsewhere, spill black running guts.
Not the Firemen. In black rubber gloves and leather boots
they walk upright, silent as brides. Uppers begin
to melt. Soles grow too hot for blood. Still they shovel
the graphite that is erasing marrow, spine, balls-
that kick-starts their DNA to black and purple liquid life.
Then the Soldiers. Nervous as children. They re-make it -
Erect slabs with the wide stare of the innocent, crosshatch
the wreck roughly with steel, fill it in with that grey
crayon of state Concrete. In soiled beds, in the dreams
of their mothers, they liquefy. Yet Spring still chooses
this forest, where no deer graze and roots strike upwards.
Fissures open in the cement - rain finds them. They grow
puff spores of poison. Concrete and lead can only take
so much. What remains must be done by flesh.
(From Heavy Water)