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Lulu Sarmiento Sep 2020
What is the difference between—
A double-edged sword;
A loaded riffle and;
A sharp tongue?
Andrew Rueter Aug 2020
After harmlessly crossing your border
          you take our friendship hostage
guarding your perimeter with sandbags of arbitrary etiquette
a no man's land of manners separates us
   you snipe from your defensive position
              so I retreat and start strategizing.
Consulting my generals to discuss your tactics
  they advise me to start stockpiling weapons
                and to start looking for weaknesses.

There is a counteroffensive to your intentions.
            While you were destroying my satcoms
a successful infiltration of your command center was accomplished.
Once your defenses were understood
           your flanks appeared vulnerable.
                      Blind spots were revealed.

You only sign a treaty once your resources start depleting
then you ignore the rules I'm reading to give me a beating.
          So I'm building up my arsenal and
enriching my uranium in this centrifuge
                             where we spin in circles.
My nuclear option is prepared and capable.
                  Pacifism is more appealing than violence
     but when you try to erase who I am I must take a stand.

Armed with an ability to attack
I get a warhead on my shoulders
               found from old schematics
you shared with me while I fought your enemies.
               They were never thrown away
now they're dusted off and revisited
to make your walls crumble
and incinerate you flag.

Your nation starts hiding from what they were once confiding
                              after my nukes obliterate your infrastructure.
Rebels and runners fill fallout shelters and basement bunkers
                                         hiding from the radioactivity in the air.

Everyone's death equals success proving I'm best
        so I develop a permanent wartime economy
                                      and fire missiles mercilessly.
There's no difference between fighters and civilians
             because some insurgents are chameleons
                                      so I **** them by the millions.
                        The more weapons I get
                        the more needless death
                        until the only nations left standing
are those that have stockpiled weapons of their own.
Michael R Burch May 2020
Hiroshima Poems

Let Us Be Midwives!
by Hiroshima survivor Sadako Kurihara
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Midnight . . .
the basement of a shattered building . . .
atomic bomb survivors sniveling in the darkness . . .
not a single candle between them . . .
the odor of blood . . .
the stench of death . . .
the sickly-sweet smell of decaying humanity . . .
the groans . . .
the moans . . .
Out of all that, suddenly, miraculously, a voice:
"The baby's coming!"
In the hellish basement, unexpectedly,
a young mother has gone into labor.
In the dark, lacking a single match, what to do?
Scrambling to her side,
forgetting themselves . . .

It appears that my translation above has been used by Hiroshima University in a new field of study called International Peace and Coexistence. I found my translation on the university’s Peace and Coexistence Facebook page. Being a longtime peace activist, I am particularly happy with the name of the course!

Now the remaining Hiroshima survivors are aging, and they must wonder what the world has learned from their harrowing ordeal:

See: whose surviving sons
visit the ancestral graves
white-bearded, with trembling canes?
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We should always consider the fates of innocent children:

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.
―Michael R. Burch, "Epitaph for a Child of Hiroshima"

The intense heat and light of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb blasts left behind ghostly silhouettes of human beings whose lives were erased in an instant:

Hiroshima Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

Hiroshima shadows ... mother and child ...
Oh, when will our hearts ever be beguiled
to end mindless war ... to seek peace,
to our common mortality?

Poets remind us that we all share a common destiny:

Grasses wilt:
the braking locomotive
grinds to a halt
―Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

by Michael R. Burch

Something inescapable is lost―
lost like a pale vapor curling up into shafts of moonlight,
vanishing in a gust of wind toward an expanse of stars
immeasurable and void.

Something uncapturable is gone―
gone with the spent leaves and illuminations of autumn,
scattered into a haze with the faint rustle of parched grass
and remembrance.

Something unforgettable is past―
blown from a glimmer into nothingness, or less,
and finality has swept into a corner where it lies
in dust and cobwebs and silence.

Frail Envelope of Flesh
by Michael R. Burch

Frail envelope of flesh,
lying cold on the surgeon’s table
with anguished eyes
like your mother’s eyes
and a heartbeat weak, unstable ...

Frail crucible of dust,
brief flower come to this―
your tiny hand
in your mother’s hand
for a last bewildered kiss ...

Brief mayfly of a child,
to live two artless years!
Now your mother’s lips
seal up your lips
from the Deluge of her tears ...

Lucifer, to the Enola Gay
by Michael R. Burch

Go then, and give them my meaning
so that their teeming
become my city.

Bring back a pretty
a chrysanthemum,
perhaps, to bloom
if but an hour,
within a certain room
of mine
the sun does not rise or fall,
and the moon,
although it is content to shine,
helps nothing at all.

if I hear the wistful call
of their voices
regretting choices
or perhaps not made
in time,
I can look back upon it and recall,
in all its pale forms sublime,
Death will never be holy again.

The day the Cloud reigned
by Michael R. Burch

The sky was clear on Hiroshima,
sealing her fate.
The report of the weather plane,
neither early nor late,
was certainly plain.

The few innocuous clouds did not refrain
from abandoning the city.
Only the silence, monstrous in its complicity,
regarding man’s error
acknowledged the horror.

Only the small, astonished victims
understood the immaculate heavens:
the inconceivable light
igniting their bones;
the Cloud, all of a sudden,
billowing unbidden,
and then the apocalyptic rain
descending again and again.

So that where white chrysanthemums
had once whispered with bemused tongues
instantly only ashen ruins remained
the day the Cloud reigned.

War Close Up
by Hiroshima survivor Kurihara Sadako
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Stirring bugles! Rousing martial music!
The announcer reporting "victory"
like some messenger from on high,
fanning, fanning the fervored flames of battle!

Masterful state magicians materializing
in a wizardly procession,
spreading cleverly poisoned words
to bewilder reason!
Artistic expression abracadabra-ed into state-sponsored magic!

The sound of boots, guns, bombs, cannons
as our army advances, advances, advances toward the enemy!
The thunder of our invincible tanks advancing! Alleluia!
The sudden, sweet gurgles of drowning enemy ships!

The radio broadcasts the sounds of battle:
A war hymn resounding to the skies,
sung by courageous men and women
who worship this cruel idol, War.

Oh, so powerful the merest whiff
addles even the most independent spirit―
the ***** of patriotism!
the religion of race!

While on scenic islands
scattered like stepping stones across the globe,
and on farflung continents,
driven by boundless avarice,
the landlords rage and rave again,
instilling hatred in indigenous populations
then prodding, driving them into battle.
Full of high-sounding pretexts
inevitably adapted to expediency
they raise indisputable banners―
God is on our side!
Righteous war!
Holy war!

"Right" becomes the password of thieves.
They square their shoulders:
"To secure world peace
the evil opponent!"

They bark commands:
"For ten years, a hundred years,
fight to the last man, the last woman!"
The master magicians' martial music
resounds magisterially;
fanatic bull-mad patriots
roar and run amok;
completely bewitched, the people carol in unison:
"O, let me die by the side of my sweet Sovereign!"

Keywords/Tags: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, atomic bomb, Japan, Japanese, translation, nukes, nuclear weapons, nuclear war, epitaph, child, children, mother, mothers, father, fathers, WWII, apocalypse, Armageddon
poisoned elixir Apr 2020
the fact that
man created weapons
with the capability to **** man
and the intention
to **** man
is truly shocking
is we existed
without weaponry
so many brutal wars
could have been avoided
and many deaths
could have been
brutality and cruelty
would not
cease to exist
it would
exist less
i wrote this in the middle of class on a sticky note a month ago, so
nick armbrister Feb 2020
Shoot the shell in the sky
Up up and away
To fall far over there
On enemy positions
Blowing them up
The way its meant to be
Long range fires aimed
At the enemy who does
Exactly the same to us
We are not the same
His blood is not red
Not are his thoughts pure
Or intent good
For he is our enemy
And must be defeated
Totally by all means
nick armbrister Feb 2020
Launch light flashing
Bombs on the way
Fire in the hole

Rockets heading down range
Anything that can be fired
And **** is sent to do the job

That of enemy eradication
The landscape is like the Moon
All vegetation ceases to exist

As does most of the soldiers
They are spread over the landscape
In ****** bits and pieces

They knew what they were
Signing up for before
To be blown to ******* bits

This is just one small hill
Remember the warriors
For they own this land
I know not with what weapons
World War 3 will  be fought,
but World War 4 will be fought
with seals and deals.


I know not with what weapons
World War 4 will be fought,
but World War 5 will be fought
from Mars and Venus.
© From the book Quote +/-
Puppets and masters of thought,
the control of one mans torture another's sword.

Spare me, spare me a drop of blood,
and a loaded gun.

The end we see the bones collide,
or is it white lines with lies aside.
Alice Eagles Sep 2019
Young hands fumbling
through inherent motions
with graceless inexperience.
He's never done it before.

Put on a
brave face
to mask
the panicked breathing.

Sweat rolling in waves
down an unwrinkled brow.
Heart thumping loud
to escape a hairless chest.

An adolescent
still wet
the ears.

His body has outgrown
the blissful freedom
of childish naivety.
Ungainly limbs,
programmed to a new purpose,
usurp that serenity.
Silent expectation.

The time
has come.
He fires
his gun.

"You're a man now, son."

But he's learnt to **** a man,
before he's even so much as
kissed a girl.
I was inspired by the particular line of Sting's "Children's Crusade":

"Virgins with rifles"

I thought this was a beautifully tragic image to toy with.
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