Monday, 26 September 2011

Poems for Peace

UNODA (United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs) is running a 'Poetry for Peace' contest. It's open until the 14th of October and the theme is connected to the tragedy of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings of WWII.

This poetry contest is a platform to share your thoughts and feelings about the hibakusha testimonies. In their own voices, hibakusha have recorded their testimonies for you and future generations to hear.

I listened to the YouTube recordings of two women:

Kayano Tsutsui, who was a child in Nagasaki, and
Isano Tanabe, who was a mother with children in Hiroshima.

I tried listening to more, but they were so unbearably painful I only got half way through my third recording. What happened to these people is beyond words... what Nuclear weapons do to people is beyond words. How do you write such horror into a poem for peace? How do you bring hope out of the ashes of hell?

The site suggested a haiku or a sonnet, but all I could manage was one line and that wasn't even based on those accounts - it was based on the account of another victim of Hiroshima - Sadako Sasaki. I've a Peace Thimble post, scheduled as thimble #88, all about Sadako and her story of tragedy... and hope. You see, Sadako left behind a symbol for Peace - the origami crane.

"I will write 'peace' on your wings and you will fly all over the world"

Sadako Sasaki

All I could think about was the hope Sadako had held onto, and how other Japanese children keep that hope going with those paper cranes. So I reread my one line about Sadako and realised it was the same length as two lines of a Haiku. I only needed one more line of thoughts to finish it. Here's the haiku poem I finally submitted:

angels, doves and cranes -
our only hope for peace lies
folded into wings.

You can see it on the UNODA site here:

Finalists will be selected from those with the most "LIKE" clicks. So, if you are on Facebook, please consider giving my poem a LIKE, as long as you really like it! ;-) And do check the other poems out too, there are others worth liking.



  1. Love it! I posted to FB :)

  2. I remember watching a TV show in Indo about a sick Japanese boy (around 7-8 years old). I don't remember what his illness was, but his friends helped him make 1,000 paper cranes as a symbol of hope: hope that he'd recover. I don't remember anymore what happened in the end, but I have a nagging feeling that he died. However, it was SO touching for me what his friends did...

  3. Michelle your poem is perfect, all it takes for us to move out of pain is to raise the vibration of love, with enough of us radiating only the love vibration from our hearts, it is then changes will begin not only in others, but, the world we live in too. ♥

  4. Thank you DAwn

    I'll be having the whole story of that child up on my Thimble blog soon.

    Thank you very much. :-)



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