The effect and spread of the disaster cant be accurately predicted after a nuclear accident because radioactive particles can be carried by the wind. They can also get into the water cycle. The Chernobyl disaster was one of the motivations for the policy of glasnost, proposed and developed by the Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev. Glasnost translates as openness and the policy supported the freedom of information. Gorbachev saw a need for openness because Chernobyl residents were not evacuated immediately after the disaster due to the Russian administrations concern to cover up their faults.
The spring was late. We watched the sky and studied charts for shouldering isobars. Birds were late to pair. Crows drank from the lambs eye. Over Finland small birds fell; song thrushes steering north, smudged signatures on light, migrating warblers, nightingales. Wing-beats failed over fjords, each lung a sip of gall. Children were warned of their dangerous beauty. Milk was spilt in Poland. Each quarrel The blowback from some old story, a mouthful of bitter air from the Ukraine brought by the wind in its box of sorrows.
This spring a lamb sips caesium on a Welsh hill. A child, lifting her head to drink the rain takes into her blood the poisoned arrow. Now we are all neighbourly, each little town in Europe twinned to Chernobyl, each heart with the burnt firemen, the child on the Moscow train. In the democracy of the virus and the toxin we wait. We watch for spring migrations, one bird returning with green in its voice. Glasnost. Golau glas. A first break of blue.