NaPoWriMo: Day 1 – How I Learned To Stop Worrying…

When I committed to this about half a month ago, I put a halt to all new poems. This was easy to do in some ways, because I was tidying up old poems, but there were always new ideas to write about. Therefore, I kept a brief note of whatever ideas I hoped to remember, with the hope that come April, I could write as many of them as possible. I put down about 11 ideas on that sheet of paper, though I reckon I probably will not work on more than 8 of them before other ideas take over in the good old noggin.

One of these ideas was written down simply as “Oppenheimer’s Guilt”. It was (and is) a simple idea: easy to remember and research. If you don’t know who Oppenheimer is, the basics are here. An easy enough target for poetry, especially about guilt. The trick with these ones is always about writing it your own way, especially when you’re trying to grapple with someone else’s story.

The first draft consisted of 4 stanzas, either of 4 or 5 lines – when I go back it edit it, I will pick a constant number. Done in first person, and concludes on the famous quote “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” No man deserved to use it more. The thing is, it’s also ambiguous with no context; Death, the feeling of power, could easily be a source of satisfaction. I have slanted it towards guilt, but the option is there to tinker with the language to make it ambiguous. An interesting option, and one I will probably think on a while.


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