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Madhurima Vidyarthi

  • Writer's pictureMadhurima Vidyarthi


When the finger pressed down did it tremble?

were burrows furrowed?

were dreams unquiet?

did tears drop?

in delusion?

oceans apart

jubilation struck

but the oleander could not even weep - Madhurima Vidyarthi


AN INTRODUCTION TO THE POEM On August 6, 1945, the United States detonated a nuclear weapon over the Japanese city of Hiroshima, the first instance of such a decision in armed conflict. Nagasaki suffered a similar fate three days later on the 9th of August 1945. Extensive preparation underlay these decisions and Hiroshima was selected as it was a large target with an embarkation post and housed major military headquarters ( Five targets had been nominated by the Target Committee, all extending beyond 4.8 km in diameter, housing critical and military targets where a blast would cause effective damage.

Sixteen hours later, President Truman announced that Hiroshima had been destroyed by a new kind of bomb. Since then, every year at eight o'clock in the morning - approximately the time at which the bomb was dropped over the city - the city gathers at Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park to mourn the nuclear assault. Prominent among those present are the hibakusha, the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, of whom, expectedly not a large number are left.

This poem was written to commemorate Peace Memorial Day. In remembrance of Hiroshima and the red oleanders which were the first flowers to bloom in the irradiated rubble a few months after the city had been decimated from ruins that had been supposed to lie barren for decades to come. Today it is the official flower of Hiroshima and a symbol of peace worldwide.

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