Sytse Jansma – August 2019

Sytse Jansma was RIXT-poet of the month August 2019. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. One of them – Hiroshima – is published here in translation.


Hiroshima, 6th of August 1945

this poem is an indictment against nuclear weapons
now that I know how narrow pilots, people, countries

that they actually opened the hatch, a ‘little boy’
above playing school children
a dad cycling to work, a waiting mum
on the steps of the main station

that it can be turned so easily
in mere seconds

people, talking with each other,
looking into each other’s eyes full of life,
just saying what they wanted to
say at that moment

into sizzling heaps of flesh

a person, that you’re there,
and then suddenly you’re not

after which, like a delirium,
everything comes down as black hellish rain

on top of the made redundant;
the cups on the table, the toys
in the garden, the clothes
in the closet

and that underneath the rubble
of what used to be a home,
only crushed bones remain

white powder that flies up
at the softest of breezes

© Sytse Jansma
Translation: Trevor M. Scarse

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