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Poem of the Week! Ukritye

The final one in our sequence from October Poet Mario Petrucci. I've found them terrifyingly topical, what with the resurgence of the nuclear power debate and the controversy over nuclear weapons. Makes you want to go out and join the CND. UKRITYE Ukritye ('The Shelter') is the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl complex.

Even the robots refuse. Down tools. Jerk up their blocked heads, shiver in invisible hail. Helicopters spin feet from disaster, caught in that upward cone of technicide - then ditch elsewhere, spill black running guts. Not the Firemen. In black rubber gloves and leather boots they walk upright, silent as brides.

Uppers begin to melt. Soles grow too hot for blood. Still they shovel the graphite that is erasing marrow, spine, balls- that kick-starts their DNA to black and purple liquid life. Then the Soldiers. Nervous as children. They re-make it - Erect slabs with the wide stare of the innocent, crosshatch the wreck roughly with steel, fill it in with that grey crayon of state Concrete. In soiled beds, in the dreams of their mothers, they liquefy. Yet Spring still chooses this forest, where no deer graze and roots strike upwards. Fissures open in the cement - rain finds them. They grow puff spores of poison. Concrete and lead can only take so much. What remains must be done by flesh. Mario Petruccio (From Heavy Water)

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