Today's poem is by Bruce Bond


Small things have a different logic to them.
Drop an ant from fifty times its height.
It survives. But a man, a mammoth, a bomb . . .
well, quantum particles tell us, size is fate.
So when Robert Oppenheimer gathered
those great minds, each with his specialty,
they chose a boys' schoolhouse in the heart
of an enormous nation, its sons at sea.
Those days were never simple: the squeak of chalk
against the darkness; the dread of failure,
of success; inside each uneasy thought
the dull knowledge that, hell, if not here,
then some other hell; and so they worked
against the clock, the hammer of its hours.

Trinity. That was their goal, their test site
that drew its name from a line by Donne,
who invited God to batter his heart,
God, who was three-person'd, and so one
conscience split into ravishing light.
The way men long to be that usurpt towne,
no doubt it frightens them: the blank slate
that reason fills for all the wrong reasons.
What Oppenheimer saw there, God knows.
Perhaps it was the words knocke, breathe, shine,
and seek to mende
. Perhaps the overthrow
of one god for another, for one who blinds
the doubt, so we might lie against our shadows
and fall, too deep to fathom, too small to find.

Copyright © 2015 Bruce Bond All rights reserved
from the Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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