A Cry for Peace

On a typical hot, humid summer day in Washington DC, we visited the National Air and Space Museum.  A favorite tourist stop for young families, there were many squeals of delight and loads of loud chatter around the space capsules and astronaut exhibits. Parents eagerly read placards aloud and answered their children’s questions.

And then we saw the Enola Gay.  Why does that old plane have that name? Because the pilot, Colonel Paul Tibbets, named it after his mother. Why is it here? Is it famous? How do you answer those questions from a four year old who has no idea where Hiroshima is, what it signifies, and stumbles to even pronounce the word?

decomposing raven
lies outside rotting in snow –
infant wails for breast

Col_Paul_W._Tibbets_before_takeoff_6_August_1945

Frank Tassone hosts Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. He reminds us that today is Hiroshima Day 2018. It will be marked by the annual Peace Memorial Ceremony where approximately 50,000 local citizens and visitors, as well as ambassadors and dignitaries from around 70 countries, will] gather in Hiroshima to console the spirits of those killed by the atomic bomb and also to pray for lasting world peace. Our haibun should somehow deal with this theme.

Haibun: Two tight paragraphs of prose, must be true, cannot be fiction; followed by a haiku. I’ve chosen to write a traditional haiku: three lines: 5-7-5 or short-long-short in syllabic form; about nature; includes a Kigo (reference to a season) and a Kireji (a cut achieved by a hyphen, ellipsis, or punctuation mark, that shifts to an added insight within the haiku). 

Photo: Colonel Paul Tibbets before take-off on August 6, 1945. Taken by US Air Force employee (unnamed) – https://www.archives.gov/research/ww2/photos/ photo #162, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9162980

36 thoughts on “A Cry for Peace

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) August 6, 2018 / 2:34 pm

    I contradiction between pride of the feat of making and bombing and all the deaths that it created… it’s something we cannot really understand..

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 7, 2018 / 10:16 am

      Have you read The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window? There’s an excellent section where he becomes involved with building the atomic bomb. The juxtapositioning of the main character to all the momentous periods and persons of history, in such a haphazard way….says something about history.

      Like

  2. Frank J. Tassone August 6, 2018 / 3:14 pm

    How difficult it is to explain to a child what a nuclear strike is. Your prose illustrates this so poignantly, and your haiku accents the story perfectly! Thank you, lillian!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 7, 2018 / 10:17 am

      Thank you, Frank. Amazing to read all the posts to this and follow some of the comments as well. You got us all thinking about Hiroshima Day….and I for one, was not even aware of the day…so thank you, again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Frank J. Tassone August 7, 2018 / 10:21 am

        My pleasure, lillian. Thank you, again, for sharing! 🙂

        Like

  3. Grace August 6, 2018 / 3:15 pm

    It is hard to explain this to children so I can understand your hesitation and conflict inside you. Specially love your haiku of death – decomposing raven and infant wailing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 7, 2018 / 10:18 am

      Thank you, Grace. It has been quite a prompt….thought provoking and sobering to read all the posts and some of the discussion they brought.

      Like

  4. sarahsouthwest August 6, 2018 / 3:46 pm

    If it’s that difficult to explain to a four year old, maybe we should really think about whether it’s the right thing to do or not. Complex ideas, and a shocking haiku.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 7, 2018 / 10:20 am

      Yes, Sarah. I think that is a many-years-ongoing-debate….whether this was the right thing to do or not. I for one, think Hiroshima Day should be publicized MUCH MUCH more — especially given the times and the blatant throwing around of threats occuring between world “leaders” now. The reality of the atomic bomb has become too far removed perhaps….even though its threat is bandied about.

      Like

  5. Glenn Buttkus August 6, 2018 / 4:09 pm

    My own children could not grasp the immensity of WWII, the stupidity of the Korean conflict. and the ultimate sacrifices in Viet Nam, not the chaos of the New Millennium Crusade. My 8 grandchildren are clueless. Your poem clangs the frustration button as many of us watch the World edge into Fascism. How many of our kids will be sacrificed to it?

    Like

    • lillian August 7, 2018 / 10:23 am

      As I mentioned to someone else, I was not even aware it was Hiroshima Day until I read the prompt. I think this should be publicized MUCH MUCH MORE. The “threat of nuclear bombs” has been bandied about so much….and the reality of what they are perhaps, needs to be shouted from the hill tops. Someone else mentioned that wars will continue because there is money in war…and sometimes, many times, those throwing around the threats have never served or had family who served. One thing I appreciated about Joe Biden, his sons served. He knew the fear of having family in the military.
      My — this prompt has garnered many thought provoking posts and much discussion!

      Like

  6. kim881 August 6, 2018 / 4:12 pm

    Pertinent questions, Lill, and the haiku speaks volumes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 7, 2018 / 10:24 am

      It’s been amazing to read all the posts to this prompt. Healthy discussion by many here.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Suzanne August 6, 2018 / 6:22 pm

    Gosh what a chilling photo. The pilot looks so happy. It is as if he has no understanding of the fact that he is about to annihilate an entire city and the people within it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 7, 2018 / 10:25 am

      Frightening, right? I wonder if he had any real understanding, as you mention here…or any realization of the power and horror of what he was carrying and about to release? Those who carried the second bomb that was released over Nagasaki, must have known from the first, right?

      Like

      • Suzanne August 7, 2018 / 4:13 pm

        That’s a good point about the guys on the plane to Nagasaki. I’ve been thinking about these men since I saw your photo. They must have specially selected – good pilots but lacking in moral scruples and/or totally immersed in patriotism and the need to ‘teach those Japs as lesson’. The truly scary thing is that this kind of indoctrination continues to this day.

        Like

  8. m.j.smith August 6, 2018 / 9:00 pm

    Great use of a personal incident and a child’s perspective. It hit me immediately.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 7, 2018 / 10:28 am

      The innocence of children. I’m not sure if it was in junior high or the beginning of high school when I found out about the Japanese Internment camps….I just remember waiting for my father to get home from work (he served in WW II) and literally yelling at him and showing him my book or essay or whatever it was and asking him, how could you let this happen???? And him being stunned. It begs the question, who is to blame for the atrocities of war? Those who actually commit the individual acts, those who order them, those who condone them, or those who are apathetic to them and ignore them. Perhaps all?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Janice August 6, 2018 / 10:35 pm

    I find it chilling to imagine that plane, so it must have been something to be there and discuss it with a child. I like your haiku very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 7, 2018 / 10:29 am

      Thank you, Janice. Amazing to see the plane…to hear that it carried the real name of the pilot’s mother. I wonder if she was alive when the bomb was dropped, and if so, what she thought when she found out her namesake was the instrument of the mass destruction?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Janice August 7, 2018 / 12:54 pm

        I hope she never found out…

        Like

  10. areadingwriter August 6, 2018 / 11:52 pm

    Your pen highlighted one aspect of this dark day eloquently. The dead raven haiku is haunting.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. maria August 7, 2018 / 5:15 am

    These are questions that dead ravens can answer. Poignant piece, Lillian.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. anmol(alias HA) August 7, 2018 / 9:17 am

    Oh, the decomposing raven and the shrill cry of the infant captures it all. Powerful.
    It’s rather impossible to take pride in a victory achieved in such a grisly manner after all and to explain this conundrum to the kids is rather significant in this nuclear-armed world.
    -HA

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 7, 2018 / 10:32 am

      Yes — the frightening thing is that we are indeed surviving in a nuclear-armed world where the reality is now so many years away, that it takes a prompt to remind us it is Hiroshima Day…and many don’t even blink an eye when nuclear weapons are bandied about as a bully-threat.

      Like

  13. Jane Dougherty August 7, 2018 / 12:12 pm

    You can’t explain something like that to a four year old. You can’t explain it adequately to a forty year old either.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. purplepeninportland August 7, 2018 / 3:51 pm

    Impossible to explain events, or justify them to children. We would be constantly trying to find the justification for ourselves.

    Like

  15. lynn__ August 8, 2018 / 7:47 am

    This one really moves me, Lillian…to tears.

    Like

  16. mhmp77 August 8, 2018 / 10:47 pm

    kaykuala

    infant wails for breast

    The young ones just cannot understand why! They hunger for answers that are not adequately answered

    Hank

    Like

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