In the year 1945 an Original Child was born.The name Original Child was given to it by the Japanese people, who recognized that it was the first of its kind. So begins Thomas Merton's Original Child Bomb: Points for meditation to be scratched on the walls of a cave.
The Original Child Bomb to which Merton refers "exploded within 100 feet of the aiming point. The fireball was 18,000 feet across. The temperature at the center of the fireball was 100,000,000 degrees. The people who were near the center became nothing. The whole city was blown to bits and the ruins all caught fire instantly everywhere, burning briskly. 70,000 people were killed right away or died within a few hours. Those who did not die at once suffered great pain. Few of them were soldiers" (from Original Child Bomb).
Before dawn on Monday, August 10, 2009, a participant in Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action's vigil and nonviolent direct action at the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base read an excerpt from Merton's poem in preparation for the day's event. At the 3 1/2 day annual witness at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, NE, hosted by the Des Moines and Omaha Catholic Worker communities, the entire poem was read as part of the closing ceremony.
I thought it worth sharing Merton's poem as a closing to a weekend of remembrance, action and planning for the future of the nuclear abolition movement. May we all continue to find strength to continue the struggle to abolish nuclear weapons.