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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,
            reconciled
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

###

Something
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
streets
become my city.

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

There,
if I hear the wistful call
of their voices
regretting choices
made
or perhaps not made
in time,
I can look back upon it and recall,
in all of its forms sublime,
still
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
annihilate
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
seldom Apr 1
the fact that
man
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
postponed
brutality and cruelty
would not
cease to exist
but
it would
exist less
i wrote this in the middle of class on a sticky note a month ago, so
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
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
DIPTI DHAKUL Jan 9
I know not with what weapons
World War 3 will  be fought,
but World War 4 will be fought
with seals and deals.

OR DO I SAY

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
behind
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.
Shiv Pratap Pal Jun 2019
I hate Science
I hate Technology

Neither Am I Orthodox
Nor I am Fool

I am not a *****
But still I choose to hate

Science and Technology
Both gave us many things

I remember, there was a time
I worshipped both of them

They produced machines for us
They produced robots for us

Machines started building
Homes, Bridges and Flyovers

Machines helped us in
Food and Cloth Production

Milk and Silk Production
And Blah Blah Blah Blah

They made our life easier
They made our life safer

They provided better security
They provided better tools

They made our life longer
They made our life smarter

They gave us rays of hope
They promised much more

They promised more Freedom
They Promised Leisure Time

They promised better Environment
They promised clean Air, Water, Soil

They Promised Harmony and Peace
They Promised Equality for All

Both Science and Technology
Progressed exponentially day by day

But something went wrong
Someone captured them

Hijacked them and misused
By applying their ***** minds

We still have Machines and Robots
We still have Logic and Skills

But where is Freedom and Peace?
Where is the clean Environment?

Where is clean Water, Air and Soil?
Where is the promised Leisure Time?

Now we also have Nuclear Bombs
We have weapons of mass ******

We have smart tools for our Extinction
We have weapons of mass Destructions

Robots are being transformed
From Robots to Human Beings

Humans are being transformed
From Human Beings to Machines

Yes Slavery is back in the Game
Machines have enslaved Humans

Robots have been granted
Citizenship and Civil Rights

Machines have been made ready
Ready to wage war against humans

The question is who is the culprit?
Is it Science and Technology?

No. Not at all. I know this very well
But I still hate Science and Technology

The real culprits are the hungry Capitalists
Who captured, hijacked and misused

Science and the Technology for their greed
Though they have all the things they need

Science and the Technology easily surrendered
and allowed themselves to be used for their greed

This is why I Hate Science and Technology
I also hate Capitalism and Capitalists too

But I have a big question for Myself. I still doubt -
"Can I really live without Science and Technology"
I Hate Science and Technology, What about You?? You also Hate Science and Technology or do you hate me???
Michael H Jun 2019
Confidence
In all those stories
reacting with youth

everyone is gathered
in my head
waiting

I try to free NASA
there are time errors though
with lasers

I need help
thinking about
time
390 Looking to post something... this is random but I have always liked aeronautics. The US is planning to put a laser into the Earth's orbit, to shoot down missiles from space. Whether for or against I would like to voice soon...
Edith May 2019
Sometimes I forget
That my words can be used as weapons
Until they’re already sailing toward their target
Ready to explode upon impact
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