hiroshima sixty-five years on

Twice a year for just over a decade I had the privilege and exciting opportunity of working for a week at a time in Japan. I was invited by the School of Aromatherapy in Tokyo to give the Reflexology section of the Aromotherapy Diploma.
On one of my trips after the 30 hour course given over 5 days, I caught the Shinkansen, the High Speed Bullet train, to Hiroshima. I enjoyed three wonderful days and relived the sad story I read many times called Sadako and a Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr.
It was the  time of the 65th anniversary.  I headed to the Peace Park where I went each day and was there early morning on the 6th August 2010.

The photo shows Hiroshima Peace Park completed in 1954.  The park contains 66 statues, monuments and buildings that stand as a symbol of the nuclear abolition and the vow of humanity to pursue peace.




hiroshima sixty-five years on

sings a song of hope
cicadas have the upper note
the coo of doves
like tenors ground the sound
cooling water trickles
and children play

incense wafts from beds of sand
people bow as they pass
coloured cranes like prayer flags
hang on trees
and memorials

today is warm balmy
i sit by the river near the epicentre
it is 8.15 am

ring out across the peace park
and around the city

Colleen Keating    A Call to Listen       2014  Ginninderra Press.

august mornings in hiroshima





august mornings in hiroshima


a summer’s day in august
with measured steps   i tread
once burnt ground

cicadas drum humid air hums
distant streetcars rattle

weeping willows green and dense
line the river’s path
define this park of peace

i join those already at the cenotaph
the fragrance of incense and flowers
cannot ease the stark facts here

at the bronze sculpture
mother and child in firestorm
the mother’s eyes stare with terror
as she hunches like an animal over her young

The tower clock strikes
its hands point to a moment that must not be lost
that mortal moment: eight fifteen a.m.
my eyes catch hot hazy sky
old skin   innocence lost


that summer’s day in August
the enola gay looms onto the horizon
a glint in the sun a blinding flash
a shadow dooming humanity
its foreboding drone
drowned out by the song of cicadas

children chase dragonflies on their way to school
fishermen trawl the tranquil river
breakfast-cooking odours waft
the city bustles into life
supernatural light delivers hell to earth
hell is here
written on flesh without breath



a summer’s day in august
stringed garlands of folded paper cranes
sway like multi-coloured prayer flags
circling the children’s peace monument

a mother kneels beside her young child
she tells a story
the story of sadako
sadako   who died of ‘bomb sickness’
and inspired children
to fold paper cranes for peace

together the mother and child
step forward and ring the bell

above silhouetted against the sky
a sculpture of sadako holds high a golden crane

hope balancing on its wings