Poem: “Hiroshima”

In-depth Report:
Poem: "Hiroshima"

Hiroshima      

I am the Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto

A graduate of Emory College, Atlanta,

Pastor of the Methodist Church of Hiroshima

I was in a western suburb when the bomb struck

Like a sheet of sunlight.

Fearing for my wife and family

I ran back into the city

Where I saw hundreds and hundreds fleeing

Every one of them hurt in some way.

The eyebrows of some were burned off

Skin hung from their faces and hands

Some were vomiting as they walked

On some naked bodies the burns had made patterns

Of the shapes of flowers transferred

From their kimonos to human skin.

Almost all had their heads bowed

Looked straight ahead, were silent

And showed no expression whatever.

Under many houses I heard trapped people screaming

Crying for help but there were none to help

And the fire was coming.

I came to a young woman holding her dead baby

Who pleaded with me to find her husband

So he could see the baby one last time.

There was nothing I could do but humor her.

By accident I ran into my own wife

Both she and our child were alive and well.

For days I carried water and food to the wounded and the dying.

I apologized to them: “Forgive me,” I said, “for not sharing your burden.”

I am the Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto

Pastor of the Methodist Church of Hiroshima

I was in a western suburb when the bomb struck

Like a sheet of sunlight.

The above poem is based on the content of the book “Hiroshima” by John Hersey. Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based reporter and publicist. Reach him at [email protected]  

Articles by: Sherwood Ross

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