8:15 A.M.

 

At 8:15 a.m. some 65 years later,

Birds perch on the Dome.

It’s startlingly calm. A becalming place

Green, tranquil, filled with standing statues

tourists with cameras and

prayers for peace and

pray-ers for peace and

Classes of school children

running

water everywhere.

They bring chains of 1,000 cranes

folded in loving memory of Sadako Sasaki

Her cranes became tinier

leukemia advancing until

Sadako folded symbols of longevity and healing

with the aid of a pin.

At 8:15 a.m. some 65 years later,

Five cranes hold sentinel on

ruined

blackened

girders

The skeleton now, simply,

called the A-Bomb Dome.

Statues are the world’s countries’ monuments

to Hiroshima reborn, arisen

declaring her residents will,

forever, live

in a place called The City of Peace.

Classes of children, schooled in knowledge of what

unthinkable tragedy

took

place

here

stand for photos before the fountain with the flame

in the center burning

until the last nuclear weapon is dismantled;

Before the cenotaph shielding

names of the dead, reopened, names

added on August 6th.

The Peace Park, the terrible

hypocenter.

And the tourists with cameras?

We bear witness. We come to

ask, Why?

How many

angels danced on the head of a pin?

We come to see The Truth or

as much truth as we can bear.

Seeing demands the clearest sight

possible when your eyes are filled

with the pin pricks of tears

Water,

like the water the burned begged for as they died

The peace fountains spouting outside the museum

the river that flows

calmly, becalmingly

near the A-Bomb Dome,

where the cranes have taken up residence.

(17 October 2010 21:27 p.m.)

NOTES: I wrote the first version of this poem while we visited Japan in 2010. The atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima at 8:15 a.m.on August 6, 1945. Sadako Sasaki lived 2 kilometers from the epicenter. She was 2 years old at the time, and died of the radiation exposure 10 years later. Sadako is famous for folding origami cranes. According to the Japanese legend, anyone who folds 1,000 cranes will be granted a wish: Sadako hoped to be healed. Today classrooms of children all around the world send strings of paper cranes to be displayed at Sadako Sasaki’s memorial in the Peace Park. Her statue and story are a powerful reminder of the innocent lives lost.

The cenotaph is opened each August 6th and the newest names of the dead are added. Its arched form provides a shelter to the souls of the victims.

The Peace Park contains statues dedicated by countries around the world; a museum; and monuments. We visited at night and the Dome (the only building left standing after the blast) was occupied by cranes. The image of this World Heritage Monument and the symbolic birds took a powerful hold on my imagination. When we returned at daylight to visit the park it overflowed with classes of laughing children, stunned tourists, and an atmosphere that is impossible to describe. It is a place of shared tragedy, and humanity.

The cranes were still there, perching in the Dome.

(All photographs can be enlarged by simply clicking on the image.)

More pictures from our trip to Japan and of Uwe’s photography may be viewed at viewpics.de.

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19 thoughts on “8:15 A.M.

  1. Thank you for visiting my place Jadi — and for leading me back here. As I read and felt my heart melt, I was grateful for your words.

    I used to write on my original blog, Recover Your Joy — your post reminded me of how once Sadako’s cranes helped someone I cared for on his journey out of life. http://recoveryourjoy.blogspot.ca/2010/05/paper-cranes-and-wishes.html

    It was a beautiful reminder — not only of the power of peace, but of a gentle man too.

  2. Not a proud moment in our history and so much loss of life and suffering…
    (I had hope to get your book for my Nook,, but it is only available for the Kindle…I will have to get a hard copy)…Michelle

    • Hi Michelle, I find I still prefer 3-D books to electronic ones, but if you read on a screen Broken In is also available as eBook on Amazon for all Kindle electronic book format readers such as Kindle for PC, for Mac, for iPad, for Android etc. In any case, I’m so happy to hear you’ll be reading the book. And please give me your opinion of it, a writer is only as good as her reader feedback! —Jadi

    • Hi Melanie, we had the best sushi of our lives in Kagoshima and a soak in an onsen a few feet from the edge of the ocean. Japan is a lovely place. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I envy you getting to return so often. —Jadi

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