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Ignominious Actions

Upon the beginning of Mary Jo Salter?s ?Welcome to Hiroshima? materializes as a visual holiday to a different country. However, the detail of imagery reveals a different sort of poem. The theme of the poem is a gloomy look at how humans destroy each other. The careful imagery of the lingering effects of war, the devastation of human life and the shadowy unknowns of the future through images of shock, guilt and numbness bring the event to life.

The persona recounts the bomb and admits its? devastating effects. Describing the bomb with a simile ?like a beer?(6) gives a pleasant appearance.. The persona describes the bomb with a tone of wonder and awe. Images of ?foam? and ?thirst? suggest a quest for more knowledge. The awestruck persona wants to know more about the unimaginable event.

The longing for knowledge is established. The persona begins to describe the devastation left behind. The description of the water is one of ?blood? and ?scum?(10). Then, in disbelief the persona says the water is in the ?morning cup of tea? (12). The persona describes the ?memorial museum?(22) with a tone of shock through the next few lines of well thought out language.

Images of burning and melting immediately become visible to the mind. The persona chooses to use personification throughout the next two stanzas. ?Blistered grass? and ?strings of flesh?(24) are a few of the thoughts described by Salter?s persona. The vision of melting flesh is communicated through the use of the metaphors in the poem. In addition to the flesh melting, the depiction of ?gloves? to ?coatsleeves?(23,24) is symbolic of skin hanging off bone and muscle. The horrific actuality of war is envisioned through these words.

In the eighth stanza the persona begins to instill the feeling of disbelieving guilt by stating ?they should have left it all?(31). Then, switching to the actual belongings left behind by the awful event, the persona notices ?the wristwatch of a child? (32). By using these terms, the persona lures the attention back to the certainty of death. In addition, the persona reveals the moment in time the bomb destroyed the people in the town. The persona draws attention to the child?s watch by saying ?it gestures?(35). Using these words adds to the person?s awareness of death and guilt by suggesting the child?s watch speaks. The persona is compelled to look further into the museum to see more consequences of war.

Looking back into the museum the persona sees ?death gummed on death?(39). The overwhelming thoughts of the thousands killed during the bombing expound into illustrative pictures. Looking into the glass display case once more the persona reveals a woman?s arm. The imagery of her arm being blown off at ?eight fifteen? is unmistakable by a piece of glass impounded into her skin. Salter?s persona admits that hope and pain are eternal and the realities of the events being repeated again are foreseeable. The persona reflects numbness as she expects the effects of war to show herself once more.

kennedy Gioia Literature


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