Sadako Kurihara--Japanese



Sadako Kurihara 
(1912-2005)
Sadako Kurihara was present on August 6, 1945 when the Atom Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. It was at that moment that her life was transformed from being a shopkeeper to becoming one of Japan’s most controversial poets. Her first major collection of poems, Black Eggs, published in 1946, was highly censored by American Occupation Censorship regulations because of her boldly addressing the horrors of the aftermath of the bomb. The full volume of Black Eggs was not published until 1986. Through the years Kurihara has taken a stand on Japan’s aggressive rule with the Chinese occupation, the mistreatment of Koreans in Japan, and the need for a world-wide ban on nuclear weapons. 
 

 

We Shall Bring Forth New Life

It was a night spent in the basement of a burnt out building.

People injured by the atomic bomb took shelter in this room, filling it.
They passed the night in darkness, not even a single candle among them.
The raw smell of blood, the stench of death.
Body heat and the reek of sweat. Moaning.
Miraculously, out of the darkness, a voice sounded:
"The baby's coming!"
In that basement room, in those lower reaches of hell,
A young woman was now going into labor.
What were they to do,
Without even a single match to light the darkness?
People forgot their own suffering to do what they could.
A seriously injured woman who had been moaning but a moments before,
Spoke out:
"I'm a midwife. Let me help with the birth."
And now life was born
There in the deep, dark depths of hell.
Her work done, the midwife did not even wait for the break of day.
She died, still covered with the blood.
Bring forth new life!
Even should it cost me my own,
Bring forth new life!

 

The Day of the Atom Bomb

 

Frightening/street of hell-/each moment/

the number of refugees/grows. Me refugees

all/have burns;/clothes/are seared/onto

skin.[Uninjured/but utterly naked,/a young

girl fleeing-/I give her/my child's

underpants./The road to the aid station/

outside of town:/the line of refugees/

stretches on/ and on./On the relief trucks/

the bodies of the dead/and the injured,/

blistered and/horrible.
 

 

When We Say,”Hiroshima”

When we say "Hiroshima,"/do people answer,
gently,/ "Ah,'Hiroshima? ... /Say"Hiroshima,"
and hear" Pearl Harbor.'/Say "Hiroshima,"
and hear "Rape of Nanjing."/Say "Hiroshima,"
and hear women and children in Manila/thrown
into trenches, doused with gasoline,/and
burned alive./Say "Hiroshima,"/and hear
echoes of blood and fire./"Ah, 'Hiroshima',"
/we first must/wash the blood/off our own hands.

 

 

Hiroshima, Auschwitz: We Must Not Forget

Hiroshima, Auschwitz: we must not forget.
Nagasaki, Auschwitz: we must not forget.
Even if the first time was a mistake, the
Second time will be a calculated malice.
The vow we made to the dead:
we must not forget.
 
 

City Ravaged by Flames
 

Amid rubble /ravaged by flames/the last

moments /of thousands: /what sadness! /

Thousands of people,/tens of thousands:

/lost/the instant/the bomb exploded./

silent, all sorrows/unspoken,/city of

rubble/ravaged by flames:/autumn rain falls.