Categories
Poetry

Commemorating Hiroshima: Poetry by Suzanne Kamata

Three moving poems on the nuclear blasts that ended the Second World War and the lives of many innocents in Hiroshima & Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th, 1945, respectively.

Courtesy: Creative Commons
Hiroshima School for Girls

August 6, 1945

The day began like any other:
all of us lined up for morning
drills beneath a clear sky,
mock wooden rifles propped against
our shoulders. Suddenly there was a sharp
blue light like a camera flash.

Teacher cried 
“Down!”
We tossed our
guns aside, dropped to
the ground, thumbs in
ears, fingers over
eyes to protect
them from damage
just as we’d practiced.

(Published first in Skipping Stones)

At that Moment

I was in the schoolyard
singing the Student Brigade song
when a B-29 flew overhead.
A verse appeared in my mind:
Madness reigned
on the the bloody
battleground of Saipan.
After the flash
silence
the city, destroyed
transformed into ruins.
Next thing I knew
I was sitting in a field
barefoot
gazing at clouds of dust
houses without roofs.
Rain began to fall
drops drumming on
the ground, my body
staining my uniform
with brown spots.
Everything around me was
painted gray.
Burnt people lay along
the riverbanks. A woman
stared from swollen sockets
her hair charred
only a wisp of clothing on
her shoulders. From her
twisted mouth:
My child! My child.

My Daughter

Etsuko left home wearing
baggy pants and a straw hat,
school bag on her back.
At 8:15
flash
explosion
inferno
Men and women
burnt, drooping
drifting from Hiroshima
like sleepwalkers.
We waited.
Etsuko didn’t return.
Clinging to hope we searched
through smoldering rubble
heaps of corpses, among
ravaged victims pleading
for water, begging for help
naked women stooping at
bridge girders.
At 6 p.m.
we headed home.
Someone said, “Etsuko’s here!”


But she was scorched, every
limb swollen, her eyes blinded.
“I was with a friend,”
Etsuko said. “We went
west with the wind
crawled across the train
bridge, came back to Koi.”
I brought her to the
emergency clinic where scores
were treated, died anyway.
The next day, Etsuko
opened her eyes. A miracle:
“I can see!” she said.
”Good. We’ll be going
home soon.”
Etusko gazed at me
and departed this world at
10:15.

(“At that Moment” and “My Daughter” were first published in When Women Waken)


Suzanne Kamata was born and raised in Grand Haven, Michigan. She now lives in Japan with her husband and two children. Her short stories, essays, articles and book reviews have appeared in over 100 publications. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times, and received a Special Mention in 2006. She is also a two-time winner of the All Nippon Airways/Wingspan Fiction Contest, winner of the Paris Book Festival, and winner of a SCBWI Magazine Merit Award.

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Categories
Poetry

Mushroom Clouds

By Michael R. Burch

Lucifer, to the Enola Gay
 
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,
although 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
its pale forms sublime,
still
Death will never be holy again.


Bikini

Undersea, by the shale and the coral forming,
by the shell’s pale rose and the pearl’s bright eye,
through the sea’s green bed of lank seaweed worming
like tangled hair where cold currents rise ...
something lurks where the riptides sigh:
something old, and odd, and wise.
 
Something old when the world was forming
now lifts its beak, its snail-blind eye,
and, with tentacles like Medusa’s squirming,
it feels the cloud blot out the skies’ ...
then shudders, settles with a sigh,
understanding man’s demise.


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Michael R. Burch has over 6,000 publications, including poems that have gone viral. His poems have been translated into fourteen languages and set to music by eleven composers. He also edits The HyperTexts (online at www.thehypertexts.com).

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Categories
Poetry

Balochi poetry of Akbar Barakzai

Translated by Fazal Baloch

No
(For my daughter Laleyn)

I wish on your lips
forever stay the word "No"
It's the word 
all glory and delight in life
pour in from

Hearken to the words of your old father
Merrily drink the chalice of love
But to venomous hearts say "No" 
To goblets of hatred say "No"
To all tyrants of your age say "No"

Go ahead and embrace the tides
that alter the course of life
But to the rule of death say "No"
Always raise aloft the flag of truth
but to lies and falsehood say "No"
Give a warm welcome to the light
but to the curse of darkness say "No"

I wish on your lips
forever stay the word "No"
It's the word 
all glory and delight in life
pour in from
The sweetest melody of nature
It’s the secret of life’s beauty

(“No” was the first word that Laleyn learnt and she continued to utter it for many days. Poet)

Akbar Barakzai was born in Shikarpur, Sindh in 1938. He is ranked amongst the proponents of modern Balochi literature. His poetry reflects the objective realities of life. Love for motherland, peace and prosperity and dignity of a man are the recurrent themes of his poetry. His love for human dignity transcends all geographical and cultural frontiers. Barakzai is not a prolific poet. In a literary career which spans over half a century, Barakzai has brought out just two anthologies of poetry, Who can Kill the Sun and The Lamps of Heads, but his poetry has depth and reaches out to human hearts with its profundity. Last year, Barakzai rejected the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) award, quoting  the oppressive policies meted out to his region by the government as the reason.

Fazal Baloch is a Balochi writer and translator. He has translated many Balochi poems and short stories into English. His translations have been featured in Pakistani Literature published by Pakistan Academy of Letters and in the form of books and anthologies. Fazal Baloch has the translation rights to Barakzai’s works and is in the process of bringing them out as a book.

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Categories
Poetry

Zhèngzài by Jared Carter

             Zhèngzài

I pause now, on the mountainside,
          to add these lines
To those inscribed by others. Wide,
          the gulfs of time  

Between us, yet the paths we chose
          still brought us here.
Far down the river, early snow
          falls through the sheer

Defiles and cliffs. A flight of birds
          has lost its way.
The rock face where I scratch these words
          is streaked with gray.

正在

 Zhèngzài, a mandarin word means just at (that time) or right in (that place) or right in the middle of (doing something).

(First published in Indiana Voice Journal)

Jared Carter’s most recent collection, The Land Itself, is from Monongahela Books in West Virginia. His Darkened Rooms of Summer: New and Selected Poems, with an introduction by Ted Kooser, was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2014. A recipient of several literary awards and fellowships, Carter is from the state of Indiana in the U.S.

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Categories
Poetry

Korean Poetry in Translation: Five Rupees

Ihlwha Choi translates his own poem set in Kolkata from Korean to English

Five rupees

In front of the house where Mother Teresa was laid to rest,
Several women took up their position at the entrance with
Young six or seven years olds.
Whenever I went near the house,
They gathered around me shouting -- five rupees –-
with palms open, arms outstretched.
I gave each of them one coin several times.
That became the source of the calamity.
Whenever they saw me in the morning or the evening,
They scrambled to get a coin.
Especially one woman with a baby around her waist,
Approached me more vehemently, shouting five rupees.
She followed me not only to the distance of ten or twenty meters,
But also to the other side of the road.
So I gave her several times more.
I forgot the guide's request that I must not give them,
Because someone had victimised them for wealth.
I felt very sorry to shake off the hands of the women.
It hurts to think of the young mothers,
Who seemed not to eat a plate of cereal all day,
And the baby who seemed to have no more tears to shed.

Ihlwha Choi is a South Korean poet. He has published multiple poetry collections, such as Until the Time When Our Love will Flourish, The Color of Time, His Song and The Last Rehearsal.

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Categories
Poetry

Leave

By Mitra Samal

Leave

If I ever have to leave this place,
I will carry with me a jar full of
soil, may be a few pebbles and
petals of some dried flowers,
A picture of the butterflies and
the deep blue sky, often with
scattered clouds,
A short audio clip of a humming
bee and the singing birds,
A painting of moon upon the
deep waters of the river.
I will take with me the memory of
its weary evenings and the appealing
sunrise of a beautiful morning.
I will carry its scent in my breath and
have love for it in my wistful smile.
I may leave this place for a while
but it will remain with me forever. 

Mitra Samal is a poet and a software professional with a passion for both technology and literature. She has a book of poems, Beginning, and participates in poetry open mics. Her works have been published in various online and print media. She is also an avid reader and a Toastmaster who loves to speak her heart out.

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Categories
Poetry

In the Honduran Dusk

Traversing borders, Lorraine Caputo takes us on a visit to our brothers and sisters in a small Garífuna village on Honduras’ Caribbean coast. 

IN THE FALLING DUSK

I.
On a sand bar near the sea, seven 
young boys play pelota*.

With long sticks, they battle to hit 
the small yellow ball on the ground.
The sticks clack-clack-clack as the ball 
nears the opponent’s goal sticks.

And it finally goes past the goalie ….

The ball is tossed skyward
and their silhouette bodies
		jump
to hit it with clacking sticks.


II.
On a dirt street along the beachfront,
a young mother dances with her infant 
daughter cradled on one hip.

Their arms are around each other, are 
raised in the air. Music blasts from speakers
set in the street.

To the rhythm the pair flows ‘round
		and ‘round.
Small dust clouds rise and swirl
around mother’s feet.


*Pelota -- ball

Lorraine Caputo’s works appear in over 250 journals on six continents; and 18 collections of poetry. She travels through Latin America, listening to the voices of the pueblos and the Earth. 

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Categories
Poetry

Mulberry Tales

By Kinjal Sethia

Mulberry Tales

A laundered hope- 
swinging the parental pendulum. 
From her clasp to him,
day leaps to dusk on the lake. 
A happy fatigue
scratches a smile. Brimming

with an ordinary pride-
being called parents. 
Her eyes turned 
away from the mountains.
He scans the mist,
an ice cream truck, a madari* 

for me. 

They laugh 
as I paint mulberry our world. 
The centre of their universe
is stained purple. 
White that she will scrub 
clean in the hotel room.

*Madari -- Juggler

Kinjal Sethia is a freelance writer-editor based in Pune. Her work has appeared in Nether Quarterly and EKL Review. She is the fiction editor at The Bombay Literary Magazine and is a part of the poetry community The Quarantine Train

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Categories
Poetry

Taking Over

By Reena R

Taking Over

She lay still on the kitchen floor.
He came to see why dinner wasn't announced.

The girl twirled in a new dress in her room; the door locked from inside. 
The boy, intent on his laptop, won game after game.

Nothing moved for a while,
no one too.

It made little difference to them
and none perhaps to her.

Inconvenient as death is, yet it is a full stop.
An illness kills time, money and patience,
especially when there is no love.

The kitchen was washed,
Prayers chanted,
a homely enough photograph found, garlanded.

The next week, a maid cooked their favourite biriyani,
 stepping over the memory of the fallen body.

Reena R. lives in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. She has co-edited two anthologies and is a practicing poet.

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Categories
Poetry

In the Echo

By Emalisa Rose

in the echo


in puddled pictorials
they touch
then detach

simultaneously

in this drip drop
calligraphy

rain takes my eyes

for a ride.

Emalisa Rose enjoys crafting and hiking when not writing poetry. She volunteers in animal rescue. Her latest collection is “On the whims of the cross currents,” published by Red Wolf Editions. 

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