A PHOTO OF ROBERT OPPENHEIMER

Posted: June 19, 2016 in Chat
Tags: , , ,

Robert Oppenheimer in his wide-brimmed hat;
pensive in profile, shirt and tie – is he looking away,
or is it onwards,  towards the choices
that only appear in retrospect?

And Robert Oppenheimer in the physics lab,
all thumbs: ‘What you spilled now, Bob?’
A shadow across his brow in sudden light:
his raised then collapsing pillar of achievements.

Read into this a story, something Greek,
how reasoning and columns collude
with the all-out erotic rush
for conclusions, answers, a workable
solution. It is how a rational man
is ruined, undressed, by what hubris.
The McCarthy trial falling down about him;
a red stain on his vest, underneath
the academic gown.

One churning hour of exhilaration
before it settled in, the realisation
of what he has done. His wife and daughter
caught up in flash-bulb glare
as press-photographers rush forward, roar.

In desert exile, his profile carries the stamp
of the enigma of culpability.
If this was the image on a postage stamp

what letter would it bear?

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