Ducks in the afternoon, wanting to be in a Japanese woodcut.
Returning to Earth
When Emperor Hirohito announced
Japan's defeat over national radio,
his divinity was broken, fell away
and settled in fine gold dust at his feet.
His people understood the gravity
of the occasion---a god does not speak
over the airwaves with a human voice,
ordinary and flecked with static. A god
does not speak in the common voice
of the earthbound, thick with shame.
At the station, my mother, a schoolgirl,
looked on as men in uniform lurched
from the platform into the path
of incoming trains, their slack bodies
landing on the tracks without sound.
For those of us who lived through these times, this small piece of history brings so much back. Is there something we remember about the times you lived through that can capture what it was like to be there? The form of this poem, stanzas of 4 lines, then six lines, then five, is simple and attractive.
The Darkened Temple, Prairie Schooner Press, 2008, page 16.