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185th Virtual Poetry Circle

Welcome to the 185th Virtual Poetry Circle!

Remember, this is just for fun and is not meant to be stressful.

Keep in mind what Molly Peacock’s books suggested. Look at a line, a stanza, sentences, and images; describe what you like or don’t like; and offer an opinion. If you missed my review of her book, check it out here.

Also, sign up for the 2013 Dive Into Poetry Challenge because its simple; you only need to read 1 book of poetry. Please visit the stops on the 2012 National Poetry Month Blog Tour.

Today’s poem is from Jehanne Dubrow from Red Army Red:

CHERNOBYL YEAR

We dreamed of glowing children,
their throats alive and cancerous, 
their eyes like lightning in the dark.  

We were uneasy in our skins,
sixth grade, a year for blowing up, 
for learning that nothing contains 

that heat which comes from growing, 
the way our parents seemed at once 
both tall as cooling towers and crushed

beneath the pressure of small things—
family dinners, the evening news,
the dead voice of the dial tone.

Even the ground was ticking.
The parts that grew grew poison.
Whatever we ate became a stone.

Whatever we said was love became 
plutonium, became a spark 
of panic in the buried world.

This poem was featured on American Life in Poetry and in West Branch.

What did you think?

  • This poem transports me right back to sixth grade. I really enjoyed it.

  • I agree with Beth that it’s a haunting poem. The images are so heavy but work so well.

  • Beth Hoffman

    This poem is incredibly haunting and visceral. It literally sat me back in my chair. I’ll be adding RED ARMY RED to my list. I really can’t wait to get my hands on it.