@ 27.055 MHz: On Aioi Bridge (Bishonen)

The Ota flows toward

the Seto---just like clock-time

flows to destiny---

beneath Aioi Hashi;

beneath morning's rising sky. 

 

Ironic: Greater

Asian Prosperity must

be achieved with guns,

and enslavement of peoples;

how are spheres drawn with such lines? 

 

Memory whispers:

London after the Great War---

one of Wales' bardic

poets wrote of a Garden,

and, therein, Tanka blossom. 

 

Within that Garden,

two boys walking there, barefoot---

beyond perverts' sight---

paused their casual footsteps

to exchange a chaste kiss. 

 

Then their clothes fell with

coy smiles (to be this naked

together!); as bared

flesh thrust gently on bared flesh,

and gasped sighs became slow moans

 

(far from disruptive

sounds:  an airplane's motored drone;

or locomotives on

the Burma railway, going

from Bangkok into Rangoon.) 

 

And in that Garden,

fresh blossoms opened their wet

petals when, gently

pressed together, they released

droplets of desire's nectar. 

 

The sudden flash of light---

like looking into the sun's

seathing core---sears your

eyeballs, and the heat cremates

your flesh to finest ashes. 

 

Before its roar blasts

across the bridge, your last thought---

remembering that

poem and those boys in first love---

already obliterates. 

 

". . . expect a rain of ruin from the air . . ."

---Harry S. Truman, President of the United States,

broadcast speech on August 6th, 1945 

 

Kyakuchuu

 
Author's Notes/Comments: 

This poem began as an attenpt to imagine last thoughts just seconds before the detonation of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, In late spring, 1978, I was privileged to hear a room-silencing lecture, by one of the finest historians with whom I studied at college, about the bombing, and what may have been experienced by those who were destroyed in the blast. I do not advocate a particular political interpretation of the bombing. I write with the utmost respect for its victims, and for the people of Japan. The forms of Tanka, Kyoka, Haiku and Senryu---which, admittedly, I write imperfectly---have been given to us by the poetry of Japan. My adopted father, a veteran of the Pacific Theater, would have been in the first invasion force---in fact, his was the third name on the list of Marines to be deployed from the Nevada---upon the Japanese mainland, had President Truman chosen that strategy. The bardic poem alluded to, above, is "In A Garden Near Kyoto," by the poet Seryddwr. I have not seen the poem for decades, and so I wrote of it from memory. I can find no reference to it on the internet. The allusion to the Burma railway was inspired by the film, Bridge On The River Kwai.

 
View starward's Full Portfolio