Trinity – a poem

Hi everyone,

Well, I was finally inspired to write something new and I’m pleased to present it here. This is my new poem, Trinity, which is a sequence of haikus about the Trinity atomic bomb Test in 1945.

trinity bomb

This was inspired by two things. A few weeks ago was the third anniversary of the airing of Episode 8 of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return, which features an extended sequence of the test detonation and its results. Secondly, I recently read Eric Schlosser’s wonderful and terrifying book, Command and Control, which is about the threat of nuclear weapons that is still as real and dangerous as it was at the height of the Cold War. Schlosser tells the story of that first test in New Mexico, and of how a young chemist, Donald Hornig, was tasked with babysitting the ‘gadget’, as it was called, in the hours leading up to its use. The bomb was housed atop a 100ft tower above the floor of the desert, in a corrugated iron shack. Hornig sat up there with it with nothing but a book, a lightbulb and a telephone for hours, with lightning storms raging around him until he was finally called and relieved of his post.

I was struck with the idea of Hornig alone up there, and that was the starting point for this poem.

trinity tower

We live in a scary world where weapons of unimaginable power exist in depressing abundance. Over the years there have been many accidents that are spoken of so little that could have ended civilisation. Nuclear bombs have been accidentally dropped from planes and only by fluke have not detonated, false launch orders have been mistakenly sent to missile silos that, had they been acted upon, could have brought ruin upon us all.

What Lynch showed us in Episode 8 was how, in some way, our harnessing such immense power, might have led to incalculable damage that we have yet to know.

Anyway, this is my small attempt to tackle this issue and explore my own thoughts on the matter. Hope you enjoy it.

Cheers for reading,




The seven have gone,

Rapunzel in her tower,

Tangled hair a mess.

Skies will catch fire,

And the world change tomorrow,

In thunder and light.

Her guardian sits,

The young chemist shivering,

Through his longest night.

Below them, desert,

The journey of we dead men,

Sheds its daytime heat.

Pock-marked valley,

Bears scars of our endeavours,

But that mere practice.


The hunger for mastery

Humanity’s curse

Crackling in the air

Forked lightning tempted closer

To the shack up high

Corrugated walls

Atop an oak floor waiting

To be vaporised

Hanging lightbulb flares

The chemist closes his book

Ringing telephone

Frees him from vigil

Amongst the dark, looming clouds

He descends alone

Leaving Rapunzel

Unseen; Schrodinger’s gadget

Neither life nor death

Inside the thin walls

Open to the western sky

Where late the Sun set

Horrid achievement

Enclosed, irresistible

Waiting to become

Spheres within more spheres

Depths beyond imagining

Parody of Earth

Urchin at its core

Gilded pellet primed to unleash

Unimagined hell

And the clock ticks on

And the lightning storm abates

The world is resigned


Ever destined this

Rank recklessness with powers

The door left ajar

Nothing can prevent

Course fixed, elements harnessed

Fates everlasting

The countdown concludes

Brightest light lays plain our souls

No hiding place left

White, yellow to red

Then to the darkest purple

As Tchaikovsky plays

Awesome, sustained roar

Our creation’s might let slip

To rend the heavens

An adolescent shout

Proclamation to the gods

We are the masters

Trinity awake

With glory of many suns

Warming distant eyes

Those stunned onlookers

Now cry out in victory

Erupt in wild dance

Triumph, they rejoice

As the cloud reaches higher

What workings within?

What damage is done

Beyond what our infant minds

Blithely comprehend

What rips and tears

At the fabric of our lives

Have we allowed here?

This is but prelude

As the creator struts out

There is more to come

More death, more terror

Than this tiny sample hints

All of us aboard.

When the world was young

It broiled and burned forever

And brought forth our reign

Wanton we are, yes

At the end we’ll take our leave

In fire once again.


You can check out more of my poetry by clicking the links below, or you can follow me on Facebook at RichardAustinWriter or on Twitter @RichardFAustin

Break upon his Tomb – a rispetto

Until the Day – A Virus Villanelle

Solitaire – a haiku sequence

A Projection of a Man – a poem

The Ballad of Bethany Hilliard – a poem

6 thoughts on “Trinity – a poem

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