Poem | The Nuclear Winter

(Xavier Laviron / Flickr)


“Their steadfast resolve not to speak of those who were to blame, not to say that the event had been caused by human beings, not to harbor the least resentment, even though they were the victims of the greatest of crimes—this really is too much for me, it passes all understanding.”
—Günther Anders, after his participation in the Fourth World Conference AgainstAtomic and Hydrogen Bombs


“Surpassing understanding,” Anders scrawled—
Survivors never spoke of fault or blame.
Blown mushroom clouds had grayed all wills away.
“Too much for me,” he told his diary.

When Anders searched their souls for discontent,
These Japanese acquitted all abuse.
Tsunami is the word the victims used
To name what happened at Hiroshima.

Hydrogen—imagine—“natural disaster.”
As though anatomies of moral ills
Split when men flowered the island with evil.
Such man-made blooms outsize the human scale.

In nuclear winters of the moral will
The windows’ frost hides housed and heated guilt.

Published in the June 14, 2019 issue: 

Joshua Hren is Assistant Director of the Honors College at Belmont Abbey. He also serves as editor emeritus of Dappled Things: A Quarterly of Ideas, Art, and Faith, and as Editor-in-Chief of Wiseblood Books. His first collection of short stories, This Our Exile, was published by Angelico Press in January 2018.

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