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Nuclear Rushmore

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Nuclear Rushmore

Post  mikeschultz on Thu Jan 05 2012, 12:09

Clean air, sweet, pure water and clear blue skies,
Reducing the threats of global warming,
Birds sing Nature’s health, all is right and good
With the world. So accustomed to the lies,
Few see the ingenuous smiles warning
A cautious mind so long misunderstood.
Some call him paranoid, but they don’t see.
They hear the half-truths, not knowing – turning
Back is not an option. For once we should
Look hard – it is Pandora’s Box. We seek
Falsehoods.

Centuries burning fossil fuels have warmed
Debates of global warming. Nuclear
Power touted as clean, but be warned –
What we don’t know now may set our future
Ablaze in a conflagration of fire,
And no less a fire than that of the sun.
What greater greed than to fill our desire
For ever more power to fuel our fun?
Entertained and distracted beyond thought;
As saints, were narcissism a virtue,
As hard a group as the law ever sought
They vowed to die before they’d hurt you
Or me, but they lied by this omission –
The burden we’d make without permission.

Everything about nuclear power,
Once secret, now misrepresented,
Has been erroneously imprinted
On our popular psyche forever.
A most expensive kilowatt hour,
More costly than we thought, though time hinted
At the price we would have to pay, minted
As from the blood and sweat of lives laid bare
Few know but the shadows on city walls.
Once living souls silhouetted in shades.
Bodies scattered as atoms to the wind,
And seldom now a kindly soul recalls
The day the atoms ignited Hades
Now we’ve little chance left, or hope, I find.

For long enough now to know better, we
We have harnessed the power of the atoms,
Yet still we store high grade waste in steel drums.
Leaky, rusting steel drums eventually
Spill nuclear waste to the ground, you see,
Into the ground water where it becomes
One more in a long line of conundrums
We will pass along as posterity.
We tore out the earth for her coal. Progress
We called it, but we still don’t understand.
One can’t govern from an ivory tower.
Blindly and unthinking, we would impress
Every future generation out of hand.
Everything about nuclear power

Represents a double-edged flaming sword.
Yes, it holds great promise for energy,
Enough perhaps to someday meet our need,
Our ever growing desire to have more,
More machines to keep us moving forward,
More gizmos and gadgets, as our greed
Tells us we deserve, heartily agreed,
To Hell with caution, I am no coward,
Now just you wait and watch and I’ll show you
By telling you so that you too may see
How the powers that be represented
Nuclear Energy as if clean. Who
knows what was once shrouded in mystery?
Once secret, now misrepresented.

As Mount Rushmore portrays four presidents,
Carve a mountain to nuclear power.
Four men, Einstein, Truman, Oppenhiemer
And Rickover as each one represents
A milestone in our journey. No pretense
Or evasion will sustain another
Round of nuclear talks or incidents
Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and other
Near and actual nuclear mishaps
And catastrophes, like Fukushima
Daichii, radiation concentrated
At lethal levels with just worker’s caps
And rubber gloves. Oh, Hiroshima
You’ve been erroneously imprinted.

What is the truth in terms of human lives
When half-lives exceed Biblical numbers?
When our sense of morality slumbers
Greed, avarice and other human drives
Some to think, if another does and dies
It’s all a matter of distant drummers.
Whose truth? And the heaviest armed survives.
Should we live our lives as just beach combers,
Taking whatever’s provided by chance,
Or cry, “Carpe Diem” and pluck the day
Like an eye from its socket? Scorched by fever
That leaves us tied like puppets that must dance
To the tune and by the hand that will prey
On our popular psyche forever.

The facts are available if you know
Where to look and on whom you may rely.
Of whom we might expect a decent reply
When asked whether he thought gas fire or coal
Was expensive with its shovel and hoe
Technology, I don’t know. I comply
With civil chores though I still wonder why
I should bother when clearly so few show
The sign of any thought whatsoever.
Few read my pamphlets or listen to me
They still think nuclear power is our
Best save on fossil fuels, but they never
Mention spent fuel storage and we see
A most expensive kilowatt hour,

Higher construction and licensing costs
High grade steel containment, tertiary
Back up power on pumps, and contrary
To popular myth there are no toilet seats
Worth four hundred dollars; but ghosts?
We have ghosts, old ghosts, they’re from the country
But how I come to know that is a pure mystery
But I digress, the materials boss
Said she’d call me on the paranormal.
And then asked if I was free for dinner
“Fine,” she said, “Sunday, you’re invited.”
Fine, I said, see you then. Tie? Informal?
And what should we talk about” Nuclear –
More costly than we thought – though time hinted

Oppenheimer and his crew applied force
And determination to make a bomb
From Einstein’s work, and that left little room
For a hopeful voice of reason, of course
President Truman took the final course
And employed the bombs against those with whom
We had been fighting a hard-scramble war. Zoom
Technology has helped to open doors ,
But I digress, and as I was saying,
It’s Truman who dropped the atomic bombs
Leaving a country broken and splinted
And the world on its knees and all praying
With blood and tears shed for our release from the tombs.
At the price we would have to pay, minted

And stuck forever in my memory.
I went from Kure to Hiroshima
And saw life play out our human drama
The shadows on the walls tell the story.
Nuclear power – a two-edged sword we
Think we want, but there’s a big dilemma.
Succinctly put, it’s all the heat from a
Lot of spent fuel, upkeep, security
And maintenance. Combined with construction
Figures and the decommissioning costs
The total becomes more than we can bear.
So how can some claim in estimation
No greater sacrifice, no greater loss
As from the blood and sweat of lives. I swear.

Wonder how anyone can put money
Into a project that makes toxic waste,
Arguably the most toxic? A trace
Dose amount of exposure is plenty
For an irreversible mystery
On a genetic level. In our haste
To be about our lives with only
Our conscience to make us taste
The metallic words-phrases in our mouths,
We ask ourselves, “Are they being honest?
When they tell us ‘they’re just false alarm calls
Nothing to fret about but your houses.
The voice of the Law said, “Please, don’t resist.”
Few know but the shadows on city walls.

Hiroshima, 1945, August 6th, 0815, the bomb,
The first of two, then Nagasaki, more
Cities were on the list, with bombs in store
And if required there would be more to come
Thank God it took no more than two, but one
Or better yet, none, would have been better
But Truman needed to end with aplomb
The awful conflicts of our righteous war.
So, seventy-thousand died instantly
Another seventy within four months
And so on. One of the big two-edged blades
That’s what Nuclear Power means to me.
I try to fathom the whys and the hows.
Once living souls silhouetted in shades.

And those in favor of nuclear growth
Must sign off on the hot waste legacy
Ah, bet you thought you’d be all fancy free.
Did you ever stop to think and to hope
To understand anything at all? Both
Knowledge and consent are required for me
To feel I’ve done my best to tell the truth.
I blush when I lie, it’s no mystery.
But this is – where are we putting the waste?
How long can we store it and at what cost?
The half-life of some of this stuff I find
Measured in Billions, and red faced
Of the thing that fills my nightmares the most:
Bodies scattered as atoms to the wind.

For thousands of years, job security,
Multiple generations of families
Safeguarding millions of tons of tailings
Spent fuel less viable commercially
Medical and maintenance waste, really
Tip the scales past all possibilities
That we might store it indefinitely,
Or manage beyond modern tragedies
To safeguard the stuff that makes bombs dirty.
It will happen. It’s a matter of when
And where, but it will happen, which then draws
The inference of fate over free-will, why thirty
Years ago we all knew it all, back then,
And seldom now a kindly soul recalls.

Few see and understand the legacy
Waste problem as anything to worry
Over. Numbers don’t tell the whole story
But they can guide those who have come to see
Support for things nuclear as dicey
The waste issue is not just history
Prudent actions are obligatory
We must each pray daily for God’s grace. He
Teaches us and we would like to be Him
To hold the sun in the palms of our hands
Distance, dosage, duration, the three D’s
These determine survival rates, a system
We saw how the great mushroom cloud expands
The day the atoms ignited Hades.

So, we need power, what are we to do?
Do we build more Nuclear plants, or not?
As to the increased overhead, I’ve got
No problem, or the public point of view
Of maintenance and security too
Again, I’ve got no problem, but I get hot
About nuclear waste and there’s a lot
Of the radioactive stuff. A crew
Of technicians could work all their life-times,
Twenty-four, seven, and three-sixty-five.
How many of our citizens would mind
Living near nuclear burial mines,
Despite assurances that we’ll survive?
Now we’ve little chance left, or hope, I find.

I’ve seldom enjoyed getting a lecture
Especially from someone for whom I
Share little respect, but then I reply
To the ghosts of Doctor Oppenheimer
Who used Einstein to create a monster
And Truman, too, who taught the world to cry
And we remember. Not a day goes by
That we don’t feel the past; we remember.
Many, however, try hard to forget
As if ignorance were reason enough
To not feel humanly responsible

Selfishness leaves a waste Legacy. Let
Our progeny for thousands of years
To come pay for our sins. It’s possible,
Though not probable,
That a simple solution may be found
Maybe simply bury it in the ground,
Beneath a mine mound.
If you have an answer, then let’s hear it
They say the truth sets us free, in spirit.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, tell me please
should I vote yay or nay, come on tell me.”
But the mirror just stares back silently
“I’m on my own then, I guess” said the voice

In my head are voices that never cease
More than one warns me to move cautiously
There’s still more we don’t know and can not see
Seems there’s a war on with no chance of peace

Born of the wind and the sea is the Truth,
That is, it may already be too late
So much waste and so little space, what proof
Does one need to see and not hesitate
Learn the facts and cast your vote at the booth
Yes or no on a nuclear world. Fate?


Michael Schultz © December 30, 2011 (1428)


“Nuclear Rushmore” is a sonnet sequence consisting of nineteen (19) sonnets in five variations: Curtal, English (Spenserian), Redoublé, Caudate, and Italian (with a Sicilian sestet).

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mikeschultz

Posts : 503
Author Credits : 942
Accolades : 13
Join date : 2011-11-11
Age : 64
Location : Crooksville, OH

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