1000 Paper Cranes
When we dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima back in 1945
80,000 people died instantly the rest thought they were lucky to be alive.
But, after the bomb, radiation rained like it had never rained before.
And it took 10 years for that black rain’s effects to kill 200,000 more.
Sadako Sasaki was only two years old when we dropped the bomb that day
And she was 12 when the black rain’s cancer took her life away.
While Sadako and many others were losing strength they would never regain
Strangers sent them the gift of senbazuru- 1000 paper cranes.
The crane in Japan and other cultures is a symbol of long life
They were sent to ease the suffering, the sickness and the strife.
Tradition states folding 1000 origami cranes will make one’s life enchanted
When completed they’re given one wish to the crane and that wish will be granted.
Sadako, whose 12 year old heart was so innocent and pure
Immediately started folding paper cranes…her one wish would be a cure.
She reached 1000 origami cranes then made a wish to stay alive
But alas, her wish was never granted, she died in 1955.
Sadako’s friends and classmates thought Sadako would be thrilled
If they could find a way to remember every child the atom bombs killed.
Their excitement was infectious, soon many people would lend a hand
And before they knew it the movement had spread across the land.
2 ½ years after Sadako’s death with the money her story created
The Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima was finally dedicated.
On a giant pedestal sit’s a bronze statue of Sadako, no longer in any pain
A sweet smile forever crosses her face as she holds a paper crane.
But the story doesn’t end there because if you listen you will hear
The silent voices of the 10 tons of cranes the monument receives each year.
And today as war and enmity continue to show the worst part of mankind
Look closely in their aftermath at the cranes that are left behind.
You see, I believe a majority of people in this world pray desperately for peace
Perhaps that’s why the number of cranes continues to increase
So today I’ve started folding cranes for all children and Sadako’s sake
You see, when I reach 1000, I have a wish to make.
My wish will be that peace will come from a simple origami crane
Then Sodako and all the children killed in wars would not have died in vain.
Jim Yerman's Other Poems
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Poet's Notes about The Poem
Comments about this poem (1000 Paper Cranes by Jim Yerman )
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