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Posts Tagged ‘Peace’

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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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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Racism: Nothing’s changed or Has It?

I was a young teacher in Jackson, Michigan in the 60’s. I lived with my high school pen pal and her family for a whole year. One weekend I drove to Mansfield, Ohio to visit the parents of my kid brother’s pen pal.

 

They had exchanged a few letters in the elementary grades but unlike me, that letter writing stopped after a few months. When the eruption began to destroy our village Kapoho, the pen pal’s mother wrote: “I saw Kapoho in Life Magazine. Will someone please get in touch with me to say you are all right. My son was a pen pal of Albert.” Her letter found us in the small plantation town where we had evacuated to and found residence.

My brother wasn’t interested so I began to correspond with her.

I spent a weekend in their home in Ohio. She invited friends and family to show me off.

Throughout the weekend, I heard the N word over and over as they discussed various parts of their city. Finally I asked, “ Why am I welcomed here when I’m not white?”

“Oh,” she explained. “You’re not black so you’re all right.”

I looked at them and felt racism would always be with us. It was in their kitchen that I realized the depth and culture of racism. I knew that if they sat me down and tried to indoctrinate me into sharing their views about color, they would fail. They would never turn me into the kind of racist they were. So in reverse, nor would I be able to change their views on racism. Both of our views were so deeply in-bedded in us,what were the chances of change?  I speak of the real change, not those imposed by law. It’s a lost cause, I said, and drove back to Jackson, never to return again.

I hope my views can be contradicted by others. Would like to hear from people who will share their own experiences to prove how wrong I was in that kitchen in Ohio.

 

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This poem was written and published in my youth during the 70’s when the world was in turmoil with racism, sit-ins, war, and ignorance. Sadly, hopeful as I was then, this is still relevant today. What is wrong with us?

 

crayons

The Human Race

 

a grain of sand

lonely nights

a cup of coffee

Stokely Carmichael.

 

sizzling sunset

a lava flow

autumn leaves

valentine’s day.

 

ginger slices

scrambled eggs

the orient

a spicy scent.

 

cotton candy

crested waves

drifting snow

foggy morn.

 

chocolate fudge

firewood

Hawaiian eyes

a glass of beer.

 

Each a color in its right

Yet not a rainbow in sight

Till each stands hand in hand

Across cerulean skies.

 

From Yellow Ginger Blossom

Frances Kakugawa

 

 

 

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                   Hiroshima

We sliced the chrysanthemum

Off its stalk

And let it naked in the sun.

 

My parents did not hear from any of their families after that day.

In 1989, Noriyo and her family moved to Hawaii from Hiroshima. Her grandmother was exposed to the radiation as a child, and was now ridden with cancer throughout her body. Her physician had recommended the mild climate of Hawaii. Noriyo entered my third grade class:

 

             44 Years Later

a dark mushroom cloud

follows me across the Pacific

into my classroom.

 

forgive us, Noriyo,

for Hiroshima

and Nagasaki.

 

        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.

Nagasaki, they said, was the start of Peace.

 

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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