Poets for Peace
Each time a poet
Puts pen to paper,
There is a sliver of hope
I was privileged to read some of my war and peace poems at the annual Poets for Peace event for Peace Action in downtown, Sacramento last night. Here are excerpts from my readings, focusing on our children for they often seem to have a clearer understanding of our quest for the intangible, than adults.
FromCharles Pellegrino’s Last Train from Hiroshima with my own notations:
Masahiro Sasaki: brother of Sadako and the Thousand Cranes, and a survivor of Hiroshima, gave a lecture in Vienna.
A little boy about eleven, asked him: Mr. Sasaki, who dropped the atomic bomb?
Mr. Sasaki answered:
It’sbeen more than 60 years since the bombs were dropped. God made everyone equal. So, I forgot who dropped the bomb.
The boy nodded understanding, and gave Mr. Sasaki a thumbs-up.
To the adults: It does not matter who dropped the bomb. It’s not an issue. It should never be an issue for any country. It’s an issue for all humanity. If the feeling of Omoiyari…think about the other person first…can be taken to heart and passed down by just a few of you in this room today, it may, in time lessen the dangers in the world. This is my wish: We pass this simple philosophy of Omoiyari to the next generation.
Mr. Sasaki looked at the boy who asked the question and said: Children, teach your parents.
The following is lifted from my collection of short stories that will be published this Fall.
In this scene, Sonny and I, both 12, are on our backs, looking up at the sky.
“Eh Sonny,” I said, lying on my back, looking up into the sky, “Did you see Charlie Chaplin last night?”
“No, I’m goin’ this Saturday to see The Lone Ranger.”
“Charlie Chaplin was funny. He was so hungry, he boiled his shoes to make soup. He ate his shoe lace like spaghetti. They keep showing the same war news.”
I watched the clouds, white chiffon gowns of the wind, swaying against the clear blue sky, wedding gowns, lacy veils and silk trains, flowing and moving like brides down the aisles. An ache of unknown source filled me to the brim. Sonny saw faces of fat Churchill and the Lone Ranger.
“Eh Sonny, I bet if Truman and Stalin got on their backs like this and looked at the clouds and the skies, they would think of peace, not war.”
“Yeah, this is better than sitting around a table, that’s for sure. Hard to make war when you look up to the sky.”
“Yeah, a Peace Conference outside in the fields or out at the beach. All the leaders on their backs like this, looking up at the clouds and feeling the wind on their faces. For sure, they wouldn’t make war.”
“And they shouldn’t wear shoes.”
“Yeah, and they better not have toe jam.” We lay there, laughing, wriggling our toes in the air, far removed from the war news on screen.
It became obvious as the years went by, that no one heard Sonny’s and my idea of the “Open Air Peace Conference.” War clouds with different names continued to float past us throughout the years.
My life’s passages are identified by wars for we are still fighting the first war under different names and it’s time for a change.
When Will I Know Peace?
When will I know Peace?
“She is at Peace,” they told me
When my mother died.
Is that the only way I will know Peace?
When I die? and you will say,
She is at Peace?
NO! I want Peace now.
I want to see it on children’s faces
All over the world.
I want to taste it, lick it, swallow it
Like chocolate ice-cream in August.
I want to hear it, I want to hear it.,.what is the sound of Peace?
I want to bathe in it, feel it wrap around me
Like skin. I don’t want it after I’m stiff and dead.
I want Peace now.