Friday, September 30, 2011

A Photo More Scary than Godzilla’s Bad Breath

Swabbed in a greenish-glow worthy a “B” horror movie, Allen Ginsberg, far right, traveled to Japan with poet-friend Nanao Sakaki (next to Ginsberg) to tour an atomic energy plant and warn of the dangers of messing with Mother Nature. Plant workers, Tenseki Ildaka and Sogu Fukumura escorted the poets during their excursion. Sakaki walked the earth preaching environmental conservation. He lectured against nuclear power. Having observed the very moment the atomic bomb exploded over Nagasaki, he knew first-hand the destructive power of the atom. Thirty years before the earthquake, tsunami and accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Sakaki said, “Fifteen nuclear plants north of Kyoto … already the [Japanese] government thinks five-million will die if something happens to a power plant like an earthquake.” Two poets made their appeal but then who listens to poets—what could they know?

Another Nanao friend, Kazu Kawamoto, stated in 1981: “… most Japanese still seem to believe that humans can control nature. One tenth of all earthquakes on the Earth occur on and near the Japanese Islands. But 52 nuclear power plants are in operation and 20 more are planned … It is just stupid. I wonder how we can change this situation before the catastrophe. Not much time left.”

Earth slides slightly
Mother Nature burps
Mankind bows.
--Charles Redner
Photo:The Allen Ginsberg Project - Hitomi Watanabi. Nanao's Collected Poems is due out next year from Blackberry Books, Maine.