Hiroshima Sutra – A Poem

Nobody knew
In Hiroshima
Nobody knew what
It was
Nobody knew
What was
Unleashed from a
Bottle that shattered
On the ground
Nobody knew
What it was
That noise
That light
That whirlwind
The city
And sent a
Cloud billowing
Like a genie
To the morning sky
And blackened
The day
Nobody knew
In Hiroshima
Nobody knew
That the beautiful
Flash will bring
Sudden death to thousands
Slowly to many more
Nobody knew what it was
That genie with no name
Picadon it was called:
Bright noise
Nobody knew
What it was that took
The lives of thousands

For the first time
A weapon as bright
As a hundred suns
But nobody knew
In Hiroshima
What it was
That brought
Quick death in one loud flash
Steel boiling from heat
Bodies turning to vapor
Shadows on concrete
Nobody knew
What it was
In Hiroshima
Om Shantih Shantih Shantih

By Rene J. Navarro

* “Hiroshima, Mon Amour,” the movie by Alain Resnais and Margaret Duras, was the inspiration for this poem. I read a shorter version of this poem and “Old Calligrapher” at the Peace Garden in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania during the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Twenty years later, I read the poem at the same sacred ground at the same commemoration organized by a peace group.

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