Monday, December 3, 2012
She treads lightly with hands open,
Soft skin brushing soft grass.
Her touch banishing frosty dew;
Her warmth, a spell is cast.
Like a blossom past a winter,
Red rose on bed of snow;
Clad in scarlet and white colors,
She walks with the river flow.
The old azalea sun did rise,
A gentle light setting life free.
Yet one more sun that day was seen,
Amaterasu, blinding to see.
Its warmth too warm, its light too bright;
Outshone, the bloodied sun did flee.
Surrounded in unnatural fire,
She closes her blinded eyes, hands unfurled.
Color fading from her cloth,
Lips and cheeks graying like a moth
“I am become death, destroyer of worlds.”
Grass in blazes, black from green,
Rivers dry, dew turned to steam,
Kimono burned off soft skin,
A wrath like never before seen.
Now, body charred, color gone, there she lies.
Once a beauty, now less than food for flies.
Kami= Japanese for deity
Amaterasu= Japanese goddess of the sun
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has always disturbed me. I took some liberties with the season:: August 1945 was in fact in the midst of summer. I made such a choice to portray the power of life, its touch and beauty manifested in the magical walk of a kimono-clad woman.
The poem may be a mix of fact and fiction, but I hope that the poem successfully conveys a sense of loss and grief. More than a rail against just nuclear weapons, I wrote it with the intent of reexamining the justifications humans often give at acts of aggression: be it in the name of ending a war, avenging a war, or defending a country.
Such immense powers of destruction at the hands of reckless man may one day be the deaths of us all.