Greetings from Oak Ridge

Today, August 6, is Hiroshima day, and my thoughts go back to Oak Ridge Tennessee. More than thirty years ago I spent a few month in this small city close to Knoxville. I rented a room in a barack built with haste during the war as part of the Manhattan Project. I still recall the Old Man I met by the mailboxes asking if I worked at Y-12 and his disappointment when I said I spent my days at the research facility. “Oh, you’re one of those X-10 scientists… It was our men who made the bomb…”

That’s when I understood: this is where Little Boy was born. From these quiet wooded areas came the bomb that ended the war by ending all those lives in Hiroshima. In my mind I often wander the oak woods, dead leaves under my feet, thinking when it will happen next…

origami cranes
in every folded paper
Hiroshima

Mock up of “Little Boy” the bomb that was dropped over Hiroshima

Today we have a guest host for Haibun Monday at dVerse. Frank Tassone reminds us that today is Hiroshima day. I have never visited Hiroshima, but there is a strong connection between the bomb and Oak Ridge Tennessee.

August 6, 2018

34 responses to “Greetings from Oak Ridge

  1. What a frightful coincidence this is. I recall reading what those pilots and soldiers felt when they had to do this mission – it seared their souls forever. Love the imagery of those origami cranes and the photo of that “Little boy”.

  2. Hate to think of the nightmares that President Truman must have had, after viewing the aftermath of “little boy”. Did dropping the bomb saved soldier lives and time fighting? We’ll never know, for sure.

  3. It’s so eerie how a locale of such rustic beauty can be the place where the Manhattan Project team utter devastation! I’m haunted by the pride of that old man in Little Boy’s manufacture. And I love how your haiku so iconically complements your prose! Thank you, Bjorn!

  4. I have been there several times, once visiting with engineers to gain more knowledge of nuclear engineering and the birth of Little Boy. the last time I went the daffodils were in bloom, growing wild in the trees. They made me think of the 1000 cranes. A beautiful work Bjorn.

  5. Your personal reflections add significance to the day and to our poetics; you were allowed to participate a bit and revisit the birth of the atomic age. You haiku was stand alone strong.

  6. Really interesting angle on this. Thanks for the cool haiku and the info on Sadako Sasaki.

  7. This is quite amazing that you were in this place and had that experience. While it is said that dropping the atomic bomb ended the war, it opened an entirely new horror in terms of the capabilities of war. I love your haiku with the origami paper crane.

  8. Oh, those cranes break my heart. In every folded paper, we are perhaps carrying their very ghosts. Such is the nature of any kind of encounter or acknowledgment of a frightful time.
    Interesting, how you stayed in that location. And the haiku is beyond powerful.
    -HA

  9. What an experience to have had. I appreciate how your haibun joins the worlds of the bomb makers and the victims…the paper crane reference makes your haiku powerful (especially after refreshing my awareness of Sadako the Japanese child who died of leukaemia 10 years after the blast.)

  10. kaykuala

    I often wander the oak woods,
    dead leaves under my feet,
    thinking when it will happen next

    It gets all the more frightening with the underlying trade war building up to a crescendo!

    Hank

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