Hiroshima

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Real Toads challenge from Gillena Cox

Your challenge today toads, is to Let your words dance with me in celebration. Forgetting all others, focus your gaze on The Fold and write using the form. You can write fiction fact or fantasy, staying true to the following guidelines:
1. 11 lines
2.The end phrase of Line one repeats at Lines 5 and 11
3.The rhyme of line 1 continues through in every other line
4. There must be a reference to nature and how it affect you the poet
5. More indepth instructions HERE
6. Fold origin HERE

I was minded of a trip to Hiroshima’s Peace Park by the word FOLD. This is not I’m afraid a celebratory poem but there is a dance here of sorts.

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origami sheets lie flat on the kitchen table

one dimensional potential may birth a 3D form

I’ll fashion Senbazuru if I’m able

a rainbow offering to the children of the A-bomb

a city lay burned and rolled flat like the kitchen table

ghosts whisper haunted refrains in the air

echoing that shimmering sky that once was stable

memories that cannot be mine engulf the moment

and one dome remains entombed as fable

i cannot comprehend this act of inhumanity

emptiness aches before me on the kitchen table

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“I will write “peace” on your wings, and you will fly all over the world”.

Sadako Sasaki was a Japanese girl who lived in Hiroshima, in Japan. In August 1945, when she was two year’s old, the atomic bomb was dropped about one mile away from her home. She and her family managed to escape, although her grandmother ran back to fetch something from their house and was never seen again.

Sadako had a normal childhood and was a very good runner. Her class, which won the school’s relay race, was very proud of her running skills. But it was during a running race that she first fell ill, when she was 11 year’s old.

When she was 12, in 1955, her illness became worse and she was diagnosed with leukaemia, a cancer which affected many children who had been exposed to radiation because of the atom bomb. Her family was told that she would have less than one year to live, and as she grew more ill she was put into hospital.

A friend told her about an old Japanese legend which says that if you fold 1000 origami cranes, you will be granted a wish. The crane is a Japanese symbol of long life (or longevity).

Origami cranes are very beautiful, and fun to fold. You can learn how to fold an origami crane at Activity Village.

She didn’t always have origami paper, so she used whatever she could find – newspaper, medicine wrappings, and scraps of wrapping paper from get well gifts. She folded and folded. Some people say that she folded over 1000 cranes before she died, but others say she only managed to fold just over 600. We don’t know what the truth is, but we do know that sadly Sadako didn’t manage to fight off the terrible cancer. She never gave up and was courageous and cheerful to the end. In October 1955 she died, peacefully, in the hospital.

In memory of Sadako…

The children in her class were very sad, and decided to try to raise money for a special memorial for Sadako and other children who had died because of the atomic bomb. They wrote and published a book about Sadako, and they sent letters to schools all over Japan. It took them 3 years to raise enough money to build the Children’s Peace Monument, in Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima. It has a statue of Sadako on the top, as well as an origami crane. At the bottom of the statue there is a plaque which has a message from the children, which reads:

“This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world.”

The Children’s Peace Monument was officially opened on Children’s Day (5th May) 1958.

Every year, thousands of children come to the memorial and leave their own folded origami cranes in memory of children who have died because of war, and as a prayer for peace.

When I visited the cranes covered the actual monument. These days they are housed in special protective boxes.

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21 responses to “Hiroshima

  1. This is a wonderful poem, Paul, and I like the way you included the word ‘origami’ in a fold poem – apt. Thanks for the background, too, which makes the poem all the more special. I especially enjoyed your use of rhyme int eh following lines:

    ‘a city lay burned and rolled flat like the kitchen table
    ghosts whisper haunted refrains in the air
    echoing that shimmering sky that once was stable’.

  2. Years and years ago at a used bookstore I bought John Hersey’s “Hiroshima.” After I read it I felt numb. It still horrifies me to think of it and to think it could happen again. What a heap of guilt America is under for this and so much more.

  3. Powerful poem and tragic back story. I am glad to know about the girl, the origami cranes, and the monument. Yes, a perfect subject for a ‘fold’.

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