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Enola Gay Essay

August 6, 1945

by Alison Fell

In the Enola Gay
five minutes before impact
he whistles a dry tune

Later he will say
that the whole blooming sky
went up like an apricot ice.
Later he will laugh and tremble
at such a surrender, for the eye
of his belly saw Marilyn’s skirts
fly over her head for ever

On the river bank,
bees drizzle over
hot white rhododendrons

Later she will walk
the dust, a scarlet girl
with her whole stripped skin
at her heel, stuck like an old
shoe sole or mermaid’s tail

Later she will lie down
in the flecked black ash
where the people are become
as lizards or salamanders
and, blinded, she will complain
Mother you are late. So late

Later in dreams he will look
down shrieking and see

ladybirds
ladybirds

Bombing
Repetition
Simile
Female View
Personification
Alliteraion
Male View
Pronouns

GLOSSARY

‘Enola Gay’: this was the name given to (and painted on) the plane which carried the bomb to Hiroshima. The pilot’s mother was called Enola Gay. ‘Marilyn’s skirts’: there is a famous film clip/still photograph of the American movie star Marilyn Monroe, in which she walks over a pavement air vent and the warm air from it blows the full skirt of her light-coloured dress upwards over her head. ‘drizzle’: this means ‘rain lightly’, but here is used to evoke the way the bees descend, buzzing, on to the flowers. ‘salamanders’: a salamander is a lizard-like amphibian with a smooth skin.

In ancient legend salamanders were supposed to be able to live in fire. ‘ladybirds’: there are numerous versions (not all in English) of the nursery rhyme which begins, ‘Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home, Your house is on fire and your children are gone’. There are numerous explanations for it, too. Ladybirds are quite difficult to dislodge, and the rhyme, when recited, was traditionally supposed to induce them to fly off of their own accord.


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