Atomic Poetry: Oppie

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Science Fiction
Brief poem about the atomic bomb and betrayal of Oppenheimer after the end of the second World War.

Submitted: July 20, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 20, 2016




When the flash had concluded and its form was resolved,

The heat of passionate imagination yielded to abatement,

By mortal hands the very nature of man was evolved,

And in doing so science had made an alarming statement


This announcement soon subdued the feverous cries of celebration[1],

Leaving in its wake monotone whispers of resentment,

Whispers which diminished old champions by defamation[2],

Yet this hushed gossip dare not disrupt the uneasy contentment


For man had not seen the face of God but had become Death[3],

And for this sin the most noble and wise among us were despised,

Donning fictitious righteousness the guilty grew bold with venomous breath[4],

And laid upon their benefactors a Weariness[5] they devised.


But as Dante can attest,

Those betrayers can never rest[6].





[1] Referring to the end of WWII,  and later reflection on the A-bomb

[2] Alluding to the defamation of Oppenheimer’s reputation post WWII

[3] Alluding to Oppenheimer’s Alamogordo speech in which he evokes the words of Krishna from the Bhagavad Gita

[4] Referring to the general discontentment with Oppie, and specifically the testimony of Edward Teller which condemned Oppie

[5] Evoking the same weariness which George Herbert referred to in the poem “The Pulley”, suggesting that Oppie in his diminished state was closer to God then those who condemned him 

[6] Alluding to Dante’s Inferno, and his description of Hell in which the Betrayers of Benefactors are among the most wicked and placed in the lowest circle of Hell

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