Is You Is Or Is You Ain't Ma Baby?
The opening page of Jacob Bronowski's Science and Human Values
Then suddenly I was aware that we were already at the centre of damage
in Nagasaki. The shadows behind me were the skeletons of the Mitsubishi factory buildings,
pushed backwards and sideways as if by a giant hand. What I had thought to be broken rocks
was a concrete power house with it's roof punched in. I could now make out the outline of two crumpled gasometers; there was a cold furnace
festooned with service pipes; otherwise nothing but cockeyed telegraph poles and loops of wire in a bare waste of ashes.
I had blundered into this desolate landscape as instantly as one might wake among the craters of the moon.
The moment of recognition when I realised that I was already in Nagasaki is present to me as I write, as vividly as when I lived it. I see the warm night and the meaningless shapes; I can even remember the tune that was coming from the ship. It was a dance tune which had been popular in 1945, and it was called 'Is You Is Or Is You Ain't Ma Baby?'.
Copyright © 2000 by The Estate of Jacob Bronowski. All rights reserved.