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Passions in Poetry

Friends & Enemies (edited)

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since 11-18-1999
Posts 141
Inverness, FL, USA

0 posted 11-19-1999 12:59 PM       View Profile for Willem   Email Willem   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions  View IP for Willem


There was a time,
oh, many years ago,
when I could only see all Japanese
as bitter enemies
and Tokio as the origin
of cowardly crime...

There was the day
when news came seeping through
the barbed wire fence around the camp
that they had bombed
the little town where my beloved,
my one and only lived...

There were the blows,
the kicks, the curses, verbal insults
I had to take, as slave of Dai Nippon.
But, as the years passed by,
I learned to look beyond those things,
discovering tokens of compassion..

A youthful sailor on the ship
which was to carry us as prisoners to Japan,
in view of jeering shipmates, volunteered
to fill some hundred rusty canteen cans
with cool, fresh water for us, his enemies,
parched from a march in blistering heat...

Although to them, we were the murderers
that bombed their cities, killed their kin,
some did what Christ us and them to do,
which was to love our enemies,
so, athe risk of punishment, derision,
they tried to make our lot more bearable...

My good old foreman Hancho-san
paid dearly for his treacherous act
of getting us some high-C peppers:
a spying civil guardsman caught him
and had him beaten up so badly
that he, for days, could barely walk...

Our camp commander, captain X, a cruel man,
was, somehow, married to a lovely Nisei girl
who treated us, behind her husband's back,
to tasty treats of cake and tea
for babysitting Sara-san, her only child.
Dear God, what has become of them?

The great atrocity at Pearl Harbor
was screaming for revenge,
which took a long time coming,
but when it came, Hiroshima and Nagasaki
turned into lakes of molten glass and metal
and deadly dust. And human tears...

But when our enemies became our friends,
hate turned into respect
and traveling bred understanding,
consolidating peace and mutual help.
But we should know that Satan will not cease
to jar our memories, lest we forget...

While many preachers of goodwill
keep telling us we should forgive, forget,
we stubbornly reverse that order, saying,
"We must forget before we can forgive!"
No, first forgive, and you will find:
forgetting has become irrelevant...

by Willem
© Copyright 1999 Willem - All Rights Reserved
Elizabeth Santos
Member Rara Avis
since 11-08-1999
Posts 9405

1 posted 11-19-1999 02:21 PM       View Profile for Elizabeth Santos   Email Elizabeth Santos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Elizabeth Santos

What a wonderful poem.
The word "enemy", however is not in my vocabulary
Member Ascendant
since 07-29-99
Posts 5839
Ala bam a

2 posted 11-19-1999 02:53 PM       View Profile for Toerag   Email Toerag   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Toerag

Very fine work...I liked this......(And Nan, the moderator, edits my stuff all the time, and I, to this day, don't know why?)

...Do NOT... Nuh-Uh... I'm being falsely accused - Toerag's just mad that I make him tie that "rag" around his toe just in case he needs to muzzle himself....
[This message has been edited by Toerag (edited 11-19-1999).]

[This message has been edited by Nan (edited 11-20-1999).]
Member Patricius
since 07-05-99
Posts 11105
Glen Hope, PA USA

3 posted 11-19-1999 03:00 PM       View Profile for hoot_owl_rn   Email hoot_owl_rn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit hoot_owl_rn's Home Page   View IP for hoot_owl_rn

Willem....I will reply to this in more detail in Critical, but it's wonderful.

Alis volat propriis
(She flies with her own wings)

Member Elite
since 08-19-99
Posts 3134
Southern Florida

Official Passions Reader
4 posted 11-19-1999 05:47 PM       View Profile for Pepper   Email Pepper   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Pepper

Very powerful Willem
Enjoyed the read

A soul that writes from the heart and shares it, truly gives a gift extraordinaire!

Member Seraphic
since 05-20-99
Posts 24426
Cape Cod Massachusetts USA

5 posted 11-20-1999 07:12 AM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

I'm very happy to see a poet with such experience to share posting here among us.

This is quite a poignant piece of work. May we never forget the lessons learned from our history....

Thanks for sharing them, Willem

U K Hero
since 08-08-99
Posts 271

6 posted 11-20-1999 07:42 AM       View Profile for U K Hero   Email U K Hero   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for U K Hero

A lot of effort and feeling placed here well done sir.
Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002

7 posted 11-22-1999 12:49 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Excellent, Willem. Great last lines! How true! I never looked at it in that light before!


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