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    Half Life
      (Poems for Chernobyl)

         Heaventree Press, 26 April 2004:   £5.95   ISBN: 0-9545317-3-6    (pamphlet)

"Poetry on a geological scale... a new track for poets of witness."          VERSE [USA]

Drawing on first hand accounts of the Chernobyl disaster, Half Life dissects that terrible day and its aftermath. Mario Petrucci's experience as a physicist and environmentalist opens him to the history of the tragedy, a history still in the making. In his measured, humane verse a range of voices unfold their vivid, sometimes harrowing testimonies.

Unflinching, precise, this is poetry that finds its way into your bones.


"A message we cannot and must not ignore... brims with unsettling implications
for us all... yet - remarkably, unexpectedly - never ceases in its compassion,
in its celebration of the human spirit."     Philip Gross

Half Life is the sister volume to Petrucci's other Chernobyl collection, Heavy Water, published by Enitharmon Press. Both books were launched on the 18th anniversary of the explosion.

Half Life is now out of print; to order, make a direct request to the author at mmpetrucci@hotmail.com

Click here to read a review of Half Life/ Heavy Water in Resurgence magazine.

"Heart-breaking... Explores powerful events to deliver harsh truths."
"The triumph of these poems lies in their meticulous rendering of metre."


"A real curtain-raiser to the twilight of the gods... A powerful and brave
achievement, an important poem. I don't think there is any danger of its
being underestimated."


"Intensity and power of penetration... Mario Petrucci has written boldly and
clearly on a worthwhile theme. He is one of the most prolific, versatile and,
at his best, penetrating of our poets."


"Triumphant... a message that will influence people for the rest of their lives."


"This poem tells more... than any newspaper or magazine article or historical
treatise ever would... One of the most interesting and best poets of our times."


"Precision and control is fundamental to Petrucci's work, and
to the power and poignance of this remarkable collection."
"Harrowing and consistently assured... cumulatively [the] effect is crushing."




One for his lips. For saying I’ll go.
One for that gate his father wrought

through which I had to watch him walk.
One for the dick of a boss who laid him off

with a mechanical — I did not send you there.
One to keep eyes dry that now will have no fathering.

One for our wedding mattress that will stoke no other man.
One for that One Thought the hospital burned deep in his brain

to make him swear alone with his glass. One for the stench
we opened whenever we turned him. One for his bones

–-when I am gone a grandson under cover of dark
will bolt them to mine. One for this black box

of my heart. Ten. Make me ten. Padlocks.
With each key different. The last I send

to you who do not see. To keep them
out when they come for you.

        (c) Mario Petrucci 2004



copyright mario petrucci 2001