Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Morning Reading: Albert Einstein said, "We must bring the facts about nuclear energy to the village square."

Background Paper



The time is four o’clock in the morning
when the wooden gates of the city open.
Spindly-legged porters bear two heavyweight wrestlers
crossing the river early to avoid their public.
By the time they reach the mountaintop,
snow will pile up on their paper umbrellas.
This panorama is seen now most often
on matchboxes in the world’s most crowded city.
The sagging chests of wrestlers,
the torn silks of the river,
the gateposts and the snow of the original woodcut
toss like dolls through the air
along a scenic route. One could take a month or a year,
living by spending or stealing. If you were
robbed and honest, you lived very badly
on your way home. If you were homeless,
you lived very badly and traded your body
for the favorite food of your favored client,
starving on plum cakes. In the worst cases,
it could take a very long time to die young and nameless.


When “Mike” exploded in the South Pacific
it took fifteen minutes for the shock to travel
under the Pacific Basin to the California coast
into a basement room where a seismograph was writing
with a beam of light on photographic film
its story of peaks and valleys and the pounding
of ocean waves onto shore. It took some time
but eventually Albert Einstein said,
“We must bring the facts about nuclear energy
to the village square,” meaning
someone was finally going to explain why
after the test the captain’s shoes were “too hot”
to let him off the ship. If an earthquake
disturbs the surplus now housed, or if, say,
some saggy-chested trucker making a living hauling
plutonium gets sleepy and dishonors his charge,
then the innocent
need only face the psychic
fireball that sears their lifeless bodies,
whereas we shall toss through the air like dolls.


1 comment:

ACuriousMind said...

An excellent reminder. My condolences to the people of Japan. Let us all learn from this.

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