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                       I

An anniversary falls today,

Which most of us ignore,

Though thousands were just burned away:

Birth of atomic war.

 

In summer, 1945,

Near end of WWII,

When most of us were not alive,

A nightmare became true.

 

On Monday morning, August 6,

At 8:15 a.m.

Enola Gay performed some tricks

Of nuclear mayhem.

 

A monster bomb called “Little Boy,”

Sixteen whole kilotons,

Manhattan Project’s pride and joy,

Replaced a million guns.

 

Five thousand Hiroshimans died

For every kiloton;

Or, more precisely, they were fried.

The bomb was “a homerun.”

 

The bombardier called Bombs away,

And Little Boy dropped down

To blow Hiroshima away,

A “pristine target” town.

 

The other cities of Japan,

Destroyed with Dow napalm,

Had vanished like New World’s “red man.”

Once more, most felt no qualm.

 

The yellow man was going to pay

Enormous penalty

For challenging the USA—

Manifest destiny.

 

We had to teach the Japanese

Their presumptuousness

In thinking their war expertise

Could match that of U.S.

 

The crew of the B-29

And pilot Paul Tibbets,

When they would later wine and dine,

Were quoted, “No regrets.”

 

Advanced U.S. technology

Created that A-bomb.

Severe U.S. pathology

Then used it with aplomb.

 

But that success was not enough;

So, Nagasaki, too.

Was atomized—atomic snuff,

Although the war was through.

 

Those days in August, ’45

Should live in infamy;

But victors manage to contrive

Selective memory.

 

                       II

 

Atomic energy was hailed

To be our new savior

By politicians who had failed

To know human behavior—

 

At times enlightened; other times,

As dark as any night.

Humans commit horrific crimes,

And do them with delight.

 

The psychopaths who love control

But have no feelings for

Humanity with no bankroll

Are always set for war—

 

 

 

The source of fortunes through the years,

Addictive to the rich;

For most, the source of fear and tears.

Wealth doesn’t mind that hitch.

 

If they prevail, our doom is sealed,

Catastrophe foretold—

All human flesh in pools congealed,

The aftermath grown cold.

 

In a thermonuclear flash,

Brighter than thousand suns,

Civilization turns to trash

Because we worshipped guns.

 

With godlike powers,our human race

Can cause another Flood.

Next time, however, every place

Will soak in human blood.

 

Pollution and destruction are

Hallmarks of modern men.

Earth would be better off by far

With rule of wise women.

 

No animal will soil its nest,

As we have done with ours.

We’ve flunked an elementary test,

Grossly abused our powers.

 

If we are Homo sapiens,

We’ve got to quickly learn,

That we can’t act like aliens

Whom Mother Earth will spurn.

 

 III

 

Unheeded anniversary,

August 6th, ’45—

Forgotten hell, precursory;

Loved children burned alive.

 

 

No sins condemned them to that hell.

Unholy hell was brought

By men who said their prayers well,

Just as their mothers taught.

 

“Forgive them, Father. They don’t know

The evil deed they do.”

Perhaps it will be ever so

For warriors, Christian, Jew,

 

Who swear allegiance to a land

Instead of God above.

Perhaps they’ll never understand

What they are guilty of.

 

But warriors aren’t the only ones

Who make the hell of war;

They’re just the ones who shoot the guns

And think they’re fighting for

 

Their homes and fellow citizens,

Not banks and plutocrats,

As they destroy the denizens

Of far-off habitats.

 

They battle blindly to the end—

Gross death, destruction, “peace.”

The wounded come back home to mend;

But many use their “piece”

 

To end their torn and tortured lives

And seek peace of the grave,

As TV, newspapers and wives

All join to mourn “the brave.”

 

Those who return in body bags,

Sometimes in single piece—

No uniform, just bloody rags—

Have found at least some peace.

 

Marines, grunts, sailors, airmen who,

Unwounded and alive,

Come home to media ballyhoo,

Must strive once more to thrive.

 

Good luck to them who live with ghosts

By daylight and by night.

Until they meet the heavenly hosts

They’ll wonder, “Were we right?”

 

                       IV

 

Our head of state may be a Dick

Or George or Bill or Don;

But, somehow,they all know the trick

Of letting wars drag on.

 

“Don’t change the horse you have, midstream.

Stick with the one you ride.”

Stay on the horse,so money stream

For war flows undenied.

 

Our Secretary for More War…

Er…of Defense, I meant,

Would like to see the budget for

Next war set in cement.

 

Defense contractors have their men

In every Cabinet,

Who loyally will say “Amen”

To each price hike we get.

 

The politicians like to brag

Of how they save the day

By waving furiously the flag

And cheering all the way.

 

For them, the wars seem like a sport.

They’re loyal to our team.

Enthusiasm is their forte—

Peace, impossible dream.

 

They vote our billions, trillions for

Vile enterprise of death,

Insatiable and vicious war,

As if they were on meth.

 

 

We all need houses, food, good health

More than guns, bombs and tanks.

If Congress better spent our wealth,

They’d get our heartfelt thanks.

 

It takes a lot of people to

Begin, continue war.

I wonder why there are so few

Who think, “What good’s it for?”

 

Fed bureaucrats all get their checks

For oiling war’s machine

Without the need to risk their necks.

They have a happy mien.

 

Joe Working Person, vexed, perplexed

By propaganda for

The previous, current and the next

Imperative and costly war,

 

Will vote for Tweedle Dum or Dee,

Whicharea pseudo choice,

And think, “I’m lucky to be free

Tolet them hear my voice.”

 

In Congress’ halls, big money talks.

Joe doesn’t have enough

To match the cash of lavish hawks.

“Democracy” is tough.

 

Jill Working Person, stressed, depressed,

Cannot enjoy her home

Because two jobs conflict.  You guessed—

The working mom syndrome!

 

Her family pays more taxes now,

Which will support the troops

And, incidentally, boost the Dow

For war investors.  (Ooops.)

 

Investors will invest once more

Where mega profits lie—

In super-profitable war.

Too bad some need to die.

 

General Dynamics, Raytheon,

Big Boeing and Lockheed,

Idols of “Defense” pantheon

Reward investors’ greed.

 

War profiteers all count their cash

And plan another war

To guard against a market crash,

Which peace once caused before.

 

The corporation CEOs

Receive big bonuses

But, as the bodies decompose,

Escape the onuses.

 

Their children do not have to fight.

War is “All-Volunteer.”

But they may exercise their right

To cheer and cheer and cheer!

 

V

 

The editors who choose the news,

Of course, support the troops

And will not print contrary views

That troops are mainly dupes.

 

They’re family men, parishioners,

Who hope that peace succeeds;

But they remain practitioners

Of “If it bleeds, it leads.”

 

The chic, slick, TV talking heads

Support troops to the max

And see the world just like the feds–

“We must make more attacks.”

 

“A good offense is best defense,”

The football coaches say.

Their logic prompts complete offense—

That’s what we have today.

 

 

 

Indeed, it is our grave offense

To treat the world like shit.

It’s fed up with our false pretense;

They don’t like it a bit.

 

Blowback one day can be immense;

So, we have got to change—

A quick return to common sense,

Which now seems very strange.

 

Preachers, uplifting us in church,

All praise the Prince of Peace

But sometimes leave Him in the lurch

When fragile ceasefires cease.

 

They’re only human; and they owe

Allegiance to the State.

“No man can serve two masters,” though.

We each must choose our fate.

 

Teachers, proposing peace in school,

Find students are blasé;

And they can’t teach the Golden Rule—

“Not secular.”  “Passé.”

 

History class is just the place

To show that warfare sucks;

But “balanced view,” with smiling face,

Replies, “War brings big bucks.”

 

VI

 

I hope these views are cynical,

Not true-and-certain facts;

But war, insanely cyclical,

Cruelly re-enacts.

 

Dream, speak, write, pray and work for peace.

Cage vicious dogs of war.

And, should you see a big gold piece,

Shout, “That’s what war is for!”

 

 

 

Justice is scanty on our Earth.

I pray that God on high

Will end this painful, shameful dearth,

If only when we die.

 

I hope you have a modest home

Beside the road of life,

Safe refuge from psychotic Rome

For you and kids and wife;

 

Good neighbors, willing to create

A happy life for all,

Opposing follies of the State

That threaten our downfall.

 

Above all else, I hope for you

Appreciation of,

Allegiance to and service to

God’s power—Divine Love.

 

Born in 1940 and raised in rural South Dakota, USA, Bob Cable graduated from Harvard College in 1962, then declined a U.S. Air Force commission to teach for two years instead as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru.  For 20 years he continued teaching English in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; in Isfahan, Iran; and in four regions of the USA (Minnnesota, Texas, Washington DC, and Massachusetts), followed by a decade of work as a medical transcriptionist / secretary in the Boston, Massachusetts area, where he currently lives.  Concomitantly, Bob did direct care work in Human Services for 30 years.   He has three children with his first, Palestinian wife and enjoys three cats with his current life partner, Lorraine.  Bob has always loved poetry and, since retirement in 2015, has written about 300 poems. Email: robert.n.cable@hotmail.com

© Robert Cable, 2018


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