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Archive for the ‘war and peace’ Category

Hawai’i Herald is publishing the following:

There’s a piece of unfinished business in my memory that I want to share with the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team veterans on behalf of a stranger in Germany.

When I visited Germany years ago, an old woman looked at me and began to weep. She reached out her hand to me. When I went to her, she took my hand, kissed it and began to speak in German, tears rolling down her face. Her grandson explained that I reminded her of the Hawai‘i soldiers who were so kind to her during World War II. Was I from Hawai‘i? Yes, I told her, and I know those soldiers.

For the first time in my life since Pearl Harbor, my face was greeted with tears of joy because of the 100th/442nd soldiers.

As a result, in my forthcoming poetry book, I included the following poem to honor the Japanese American soldiers who are still remembered and honored for their humanity while many of their families were in internment camps back home.

 

HAMBURG, GERMANY

In the Philippines,

World War II follows me into the night.

“Stay indoors after dark, people still remember

Japanese soldiers on Corregidor.”

 

My sixth-grade student writes in his journal

“December 7: I hate the Japs. I wish they were all dead.

My grandfather told me about them.”

 

In Hamburg, a woman, lined with age

Holds my hand and weeps to me in German.

I remind her of soldiers from Hawaii.

She has not forgotten their kindness long ago.

 

Our tears taste the same

In German and in English.

We are the only ones standing

In the aftermath of wars.

 

  • From: “Dangerous Woman: Poetry for the Ageless”

by Frances H. Kakugawa

 

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When I was in high school, Russia and Communism were taboo subjects; they were feared into silence.  One day I read where poets were the most feared in Russia and my passion for poetry empowered me and I became less and less fearful as I kept on writing. I felt the more poetry I read and wrote, I weaker the enemy became.

Poets for Peace

Each time a poet

Puts pen to paper,

There is a sliver of hope

For Peace.

from my forth coming poetry book: Dangerous Woman….

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Thank you James Lee Jobe for posting these two poems on your blog.

When Will I Know Peace?

When will I know Peace?
“She is at Peace,” you said
When my mother died.
Is that the only way I will know Peace?
When I am dead?

You gave me, briefly,
A hummingbird’s sip
On D Day in 1941.
1953 after the Korean War.
The Vietnam War: 1975

I want to taste it, lick it, swallow it
Like chocolate ice-cream in August.
Dripping down my chin, soaking my skin.
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
Wet silk against skin
In three digit heat.
I don’t want  it after I’m stiff and dead.

I want Peace now.

NO! I want Peace now.
I want to see it on children’s faces
All over the world.

— Frances H Kakugawa

peacepix
Voice from the Unborn

You promised me, eons ago,
A world, free of battlefields, soldiers, children
Abandoned  in fear and hunger.
You offered me Hope, again and again.
A world, you said, where we will stand
Hand in hand, beyond  color, religion, gender, age,
One race. One humanity.

You promised me a world
Free of poison in oceans, earth and air.
“You  are the future”, you told me,
“Come and be born in this world I will
Create  for  you.”

My brothers and sisters who believed you
Are now old men and women, and they wait.
They wait.

Listen to my voice, your unborn child.

Eons ago, you sliced the chrysanthemum
Off  its stalk and left it
Naked in the sun.

Over the ashes of Hiroshima,
Our victory was hailed.
Beneath that, my ancestors lay buried.

Stop using me, your unborn child
For promises and meaningless  rhetoric.
The future is now.  I can’t wait any longer.
The future is now.  I want to be  born.
Today.

– Frances Kakugawa

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To President Obama in Hiroshima and candidates promising a better world…this is

from the children :

 

Voice from the Unborn

You promised me, eons ago,

A world, free of battlefields, soldiers, children

Abandoned  in fear and hunger.

You offered me Hope, again and again.

A world, you said, where we will stand

Hand in hand, beyond  color, religion, gender, age,

One race. One humanity.

 

You promised me a world

Free of poison in oceans, earth and air.

“You  are the future”, you told me,

“Come and be born in this world I will

Create  for  you.”

 

My brothers and sisters who believed you

Are now old men and women, and they wait.

They wait.

 

Listen to my voice, your unborn child.

 

Eons ago, you sliced the chrysanthemum

Off  its stalk and left it

Naked in the sun.

 

Over the ashes of Hiroshima,

Our victory was hailed.

Beneath that, my ancestors lay buried.

 

Stop using me, your unborn child

For promises and meaningless  rhetoric.

The future is now.  I can’t wait any longer.

The future is now.  I want to be  born.

Today.

©Frances  Kakugawa

 

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Norma Loudenslayer of Citrus Heights, CA posted this letter to the editor in the Sacramento Bee.

And I quote:

“Japan owes America the apology, not the other way around.”

“I vividly remember the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Thomas Lea Owsley from my hometown…went down on the USS Arizona.”

“I  commend President Harry Truman for having the guts to end what Japan started.”

I also commend FDR for the internment camps for the Americans with Japanese heritage.”

“It is easy for survivors of the bomb to cast blame, but those who would consider that America apologize are not looking at the full picture….”

This is why even the Japanese Americans lost their lives in war, to help preserve our Democracy so we can all express our views, conflicting or otherwise. And here are mine:

Under the rising sun,

The enemy came,

Wearing my face.
from my Kapoho: Memoirs of a Modern Pompeii

After Pearl Harbor, we too  lost something, we  lost our identity along with our dignity and honor. My ancestors, too, are buried, buried  in Hiroshima.

Masahiro Sasaki, survivor and brother of Sadako of the thousand cranes story, in his addresses before UN and in America faced a child who asked him, “Mr. Sasaki, which country dropped the atomic bomb?’

Mr. Sasaki answered, “ It’s been more than sixty years since the  bombs were dropped… So, I forgot who dropped the bomb.”

The adults looked puzzled but the child understood his response . Looking at  the boy, he said, “Children! Teach your parents!”

The survivors asked not to be called victims. As Mr. Sasaki explained, “To say ‘victim’ requires a victimizer, and the victimizer is led to blame; and that starts the cycle of blame. For example,if we say ‘victim of Hiroshima,’ the next sentence that comes up will involve Pearl Harbor and the blaming chain gets stuck all the way in the past. Then we are completely derailed from the lesson that war itself is humanity’s Pandora, and that nuclear weapons are something that came out of Pandora’s Box.”

(The above quotations are lifted  from To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima by Charles Pellegrino)

How long do we wait to get ourselves unstuck from blame and political discourse  before we’re able to  use our knowledge and experiences to create a nuclear free world of peace?  We don’t need any apology or blame  to help create this world.We owe this to our children.

 

 

 

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In the Sacramento Bee yesterday, a letter to the editor states that President Obama must not  bow when he visits Hiroshima this month, that a bow means an apology and U.S. must never apologize.

 

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