I couldn’t help seeing it
When he stood before me.
His soul I mean.
There was a big scar
On this Japanese man.

So I asked him
What it was he was carrying
Inside himself.
And at first he turned away,
But I could see he knew
Even though he usually hid it.

Then he turned to me
As I waited for his reply,
And his face was twisted
Making it difficult
For him to talk.
But he pushed words out of his mouth.

It was like he was spitting
Out something bitter.
The Americans,
He managed to
Grind out between his teeth.
They shit on us.
He paused, struggling.

They shit on Hiroshima
Like no other humans
Had ever shit on a nation.
Then – and here he wept,
Not easy for a Japanese man –
They said to us, ‘Now you vermin
We are going to show you
What it is really like to be shat on.”

So they abominated Nagasaki.
We were warriors,
Still fighting like a
Medieval nation,
As the West did in its medieval past.
Nothing had prepared us for
Such humiliation.

He stood upright again
Wiping his eyes
But looking to the ground.
We were conquered,
But those bakayoro (bastards),
Those vengeful strutting foreigners
Made us renounce our Emperor.

Our bodies were vapourised and burnt.
Then they pushed our faces
Into the shit and made us eat it.
They made sure our spirit was
Broken and fouled too.
They urinated and polluted our temple.

He stood for a while,
Slowly breathing deeply
And raised his eyes to mine.
So, with tears in my own eyes
I asked again what he carried.
He smiled slightly.

We have learned to watch
What comes in the sky.
We have learned that when
Such a pig is going to shit on you,
To stand well out of the way!

Copyright ©2008 Tony Crisp

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved