Thursday, September 9, 2010

Old woman of Nagasaki

This poem is a true reflection of an event, which took place in 1988, during my 3-days stay in Nagasaki while serving onboard HMCS Terra Nova.

Off the ship, towards the pier
briskly walking, trains are near

Viewing map, excited and confused
silently, a hand in mine
old women, my muse.

Like a mountain, above the rest
I stood 2-foot taller, no mood for jest

She held my hand, no menace felt
peering straight ahead, mind in doubt

Shuttering stop, doors so wide
peering out, wishing I could hide

Hand on back, she pushed me out
pointing straight ahead, not even a shout

On the platform, their I stood
looking back, she knew I would

Wrinkled face, stooped of stance
giving me a second chance
yet I knew in a single glance
it’s me, who felt disgrace
never loosing face, she smiled and waved goodbye

In that moment, I nearly cried
realizing the impact, of all who died

I took the moment, still as death
looking down the street….
visualizing, what lay ahead

Listening to the sounds around
hearing screams…43-years of
nightmare dreams

Slowly walking to the park
no peace of mind today
my heart was crumbling
fraying at the seems

A statue up ahead, was seen, pointing
at me, or so it seemed

Looking left and right, then all around
looking at the ground, I had nowhere else
to look… but up….
500-metres in the air
I couldn’t fathom, such despair

Another hand reached out for mine
this time a child, how sublime
Little uniform, crisp and clean
giggling little children, an outing to be seen

Teacher pointing camera,
30 kids, surround…
statue and a fountain, in the backdrop
as I look around.

My thumb begins to bend
pain shooting through my hand and then
smiling little boy, standing by, holding on my wrist
he began to twist.

I smiled and looked about, looking for a friend
gently trying to remove his fingers
before he broke my thumb, but then.

Realizing this pain, I could withstand
little by little he twisted my hand
standing in the midst of them
I looked at him, and gently urged him on
my eyes focused on what he felt
dealing with the pain he dealt
I knew he had a right, to twist and bend my hand

Pictures taken, all have gone
thumb is swollen, throbbing pain
soothing knowledge gained
the old women on the train,
and the little boy who caused me pain

Standing by the statue, still - pointing at me
telling me, asking me - reminding me

She held my hand; with such loving grace,
piercing pain on that little boys grinning face
it was I who felt disgraced.

Walking back to ship that day, it seemed so very far...away
I met the Captain, on the deck, peering into space
he asked me how I was, and I said;

I’ve been humbled, and put in my place.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating a write, so full of emotions contrasting each other, and it is of these things to which you've experienced that could in fact perhaps help another. This is very well done, and glad you gave an explanation beyond its poetic placement. Excellent.