Reflections and Poetry...Compassion and Love

My adoptive grandmother, our neighbor for many years, lived in Hawaii and was interned in one of the camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor. She only spoke Japanese, and I only spoke English. We were both very shy. But we managed a kind of dialog of our eyes and our smiles, and every now and then, a robust pat on my back with her tiny, heavy hand when I'd done something wonderful, like threading a needle for her.

 Hibiscus by Chris Price

Responding to a reflection question on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing offered by Sharon Halsey-Hoover, a very dear teacher and actor I've come to admire so, I wished to react in poetry. But I found the task daunting. I wanted the poems to be sparse, like the language Gramma and I left unspoken but not unsaid, and like the ravaged land even long after the bombing.

For "Hiroshima" I was moved by readings yesterday on National Public Radio, among them letters of survivors, and the phrases therein about sleeping tigers, black rain, and paper cranes.  The sparsest snippets were made more real to me drawing on imagery in our neighbors' home, paintings of tigers on silk and of cranes on rice paper, on the meaning of the paper cranes in Gramma's room, near a small prayer shrine, as well as on memories her son detailed of his mother's experiences in the camp and her losses in Japan. For "Nagasaki" I've always admired Einstein, a great thinker and a great humanitarian, and wanted to write about the paradox of his contribution to the tragedy.

 Japanese Garden at Hiroshima (public domain photo)

Here's what I've come up with for now:



D.M. Solis

the reminder

not to wake
the sleeping

Never again
the black

Never again
the paper cranes.



D.M. Solis

Einstein died

year later
of heart failure.

Some say,
more believe

his heart
was broken.