The Chernobyl Suite 1

Goya, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

[The Fukushima reactors are still spewing out their radioactive contamination. North-east Japan will be contaminated for centuries. This Tuesday the 26th is of course the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Below the first part of a partly bilingual suite of poems on the Chernobyl experience written in 1986-87 when I was living in Germany with a three year old child. It is dedicated to all the victims past and present, as in Fukushima, of the great nuclear delusion foisted upon people and planet for countless human generations to come by the class- and power-driven representatives of State and Capital. It is important to understand that nuclear power is THEIR power, not ours. To rid ourselves of one is to rid ourselves of the other. Nuclear power is inherently violent, authoritarian, elitist, militaristic. Our power lies in the democratic dialogue of non-violent assembly, direct action, mutual aid and self-management.]

The Chernobyl Suite 1

1. Drachenwind Dragonwind

die toten Murmeln der Augen dead marble eyes
fischverbissen scarmouth hanging on
der Narbenmund like a stubborn fish
über Krötenwolken ein Lichtei over toad clouds an egg of light
tönend im Wind tolling in the wind
es lebte ein Drache there once was a dragon
es lebte ein Drache there once was a dragon
es lebte ein Drache there once was a dragon
es lebte there once was

(30 June 1986)

2. 1st of May 1986

on the blanket in the sun grass knives
cut through oil-spun fibres, furry air
quivering about your sack of skin
sweating and the faintest hum
deep in the ear intermittent noise
from some obscure station
in some lightless galaxy
bouncing off whorled walls of lead
while in Russia mechanical butterflies
drop sand and occasionally themselves
into a boiling wound of nuclear lava

all metaphors cheap, gaudy
wrapping paper
round facts well tracked
from Hiroshima to Harrisburg
quantified, dead and buried
in living bone, acres
of purring silicon
as it comes down
as it comes down
as abstract as Power
as death
as the food you can’t eat
the milk you can’t drink
the sand your child can’t play in
as ancient as the skull
in the cherry blossom
as real as the poem

(4 July 1986)

3. This Black Wind

this black wind
that whistles about the rock
leaves the waters untroubled
it is not natural
it seeps into the soul
most insidiously
it whispers obscenities
on street corners, it laughs
at you eating your greens
it is black as the devil’s ass

They have unleashed it
to power their plans
and their pyramids
it is not for us
though it winks and smiles
in our bones
and our children’s bones
and our children’s children’s bones
it blows through us
as if we weren’t there
it shall howl
its arpeggios of pain
through our living tissue
for ever

why have we let these fat men
rule over us, may they rot
in their greed and their impotence
even they shall long
for a fine rain through their hair
deep inside their shelters
their concrete hearts
this black wind
is not natural

(14 July 1986)

4. What The Trees Are Saying Was die Bäume Sagen
(i.m. Paul Celan and Rose Ausländer) (für Celan und Ausländer)

the wind es kommt
screaming from the future der wind
cuts into your face der zukunft
down below giant worms steil ins gesicht
turn in their sleep geschrien. unten
lick chapped lips rühren sich
it smells of human flesh and metal die riesenwürmer
down there, from there comes no love und schmatzen
no fine rain singing in your hair es riecht
rocks, dust, insects, winter’s blade nach menschenfleisch
singing this wind and und metall, dorther
again, again kommt nicht die liebe
again nicht der feine regen singt
schwarze Milch im haar; steine, staub, insekten,
winterklinge singt dieser wind
und wieder, wieder
schwarze Milch

(20 August 1986)

~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on April 23, 2011.

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