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    Poem of the Month, February 2015: Instead of Vengeance

    Text: Solveig Hansen

    Taki Yuriko

    Poet Taki Yuriko

    2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In her poem Instead of Vengeance, Taki Yuriko depicts the horrors and effects of these terrible weapons, but also how the families and the victims hope “not for vengeance, but that their fellow humans will never do such a thing ever again.”

    The message of her poem remains important, more than ever today, with all the atrocities happening in the world. The 78 year old mother of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who was barbarically killed by ISIS, said, “I believe that the grief should not trigger a ‘chain of hatred.'”

    Taki Yuriko is an award-winning Japanese poet. Many of her poems are beautifully translated into English by Deborah and John Saxon. Instead of Vengeance has, together with many of her poems, been published in the Syndic Literary Journal.

    In recent poems, she focuses on the Fukushima disaster in 2011 and its aftermaths. We have previously published If I Knew That I Would Die tomorrow… and reviewed her book Sakura, the Cherry Blossom.

    Taki Yuriko is IFLAC Peace Ambassador in Japan.


    By Taki Yuriko (2007)
    (Translation by John Saxon)

    After the concurrent
    9/11 terrorist attacks,
    No bereaved family
    Hoped for vengeance.

    Neither vengeance,
    Nor war,
    But person-to-person
    Understanding and peace.

    The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bomb victims
    Have not once in 62 years
    Spoken of vengeance.
    Nearly all say,
    “Guilt overwhelms me
    That only I remained alive
    While my family, my friends
    Melted instantly,
    Or slowly writhed in agony,”
    Before falling silent.

    Recently, painfully,
    They have spoken more:
    “Let us be the last
    To suffer such horrors.
    Let no one experience this
    Ever again.”

    On that day,
    It was ten times hotter than the sun.
    The bomb pressure
    Flung a child into the air, then
    Slammed him to the ground,
    Crushed under 35 tons/m2.

    Even three kilometers away,
    Faces melted and hair fell off.
    Men and women became identical
    As skin slid off their bodies
    Like elbow-length ladies gloves.

    A horse clopped about frantically,
    Reared up and
    Screeched its last.

    The intense heat drove
    Many into the river.
    Their corpses became a raft
    Reaching both banks.
    A man trying to cross
    Sank and disappeared
    With the corpses.

    Those left alive
    Absorbed radiation
    Producing chromosomal damage
    That would pass on.
    Bones crumbled,
    White blood cell counts ran amok.

    They say one in four
    Considered suicide.

    Make known their plight!
    Hear the testimony
    Of those who suffer
    These invisible maladies!
    Acknowledge those
    Whose horrible conditions are revealed
    Only in medical reports!

    Let’s face this
    Not as a government issue,
    But as a human issue.

    The Nagasaki and Hiroshima bomb victims
    Married and gave birth,
    Passing their suffering on
    To their children and grandchildren.

    Yet every bereaved family
    And every war victim
    Hopes not for vengeance,
    But that their fellow humans
    Will never do such a thing
    Ever again.



    2 Comments on “Poem of the Month, February 2015: Instead of Vengeance”

    1. adaaharoni06 says:

      Dear Taki Yuriko, IFLAC PEACE AMBASSADOR IN JAPAN, I am very moved by your beautiful and so sad poem, and I thank you in my name and in the name of IFLAC for writing it. As the website Director, Solveig Hansen says above, “The message of her poem remains important, more than ever today, with all the atrocities happening in the world.” Poems like yours Taki Yuriko, help to create a better world beyond war.

      Dr. Ada Aharoni
      IFLAC Founding President


      • Taki Yuriko says:

        Dear Dr.Ada Aharoni IFLAC Founding President

        Thank you so much for your big support and comment.

        I hope
        We recognize that all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace free from fear (not only war terro but also nuclear poison from nuclear power plants like Fukushima,etc)and want.
        We must respect each other this right to live.

        Taki Yuriko from Japan


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