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April 2012 / Bronx/​Riverdale Family / Brooklyn Family / Long Island Family / Manhattan Family / Queens Family / Staten Island Family

Reflecting on Hiroshima: High school poet touches hearts

Poet and high school student Dionne Muyalde is garnering attention for her eloquent message of peace.

The Cathedral High School student was selected to be among the top 10 finalists out of more than 700 contestants of the Poetry for Peace contest for her poem about atomic bomb survivors, known as “hibakusha.”

The challenge was nothing for freshman Muyalde, who is currently the top student in her class at the Manhattan high school, on East 56th Street between Second and First avenues.

Muyalde and the other contestants listened as “hibakusha” shared their first-hand experiences of nuclear war, and were then asked to respond to the stories in verse. Throughout the month-long competition, 741 poems were submitted and were “liked” by people on Facebook. At the end of the month, the poems were ranked by the contest’s criteria: the poem’s connection to a “hibakusha” testimony, its message of peace, the structure of the verse, the overall impact of the poem, and the number of likes it received on Facebook.

To read all of the poems submitted to the contest, or to find out about the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs’ next contest, visit www.un.org/disarmament/special/poetryforpeace/. For more about the “hibakusha,” visit hibakushastories.org.

HIROSHIMA HIBAKUSHA

By Dionne Muyalde

August 9, 1945, what a beautiful morning,

The sun slowly rising, so gentle and warming.

Who would’ve known that on this very day,

“The Land of the Rising Sun” would turn into almost nothing but death and decay.

The Second World War had lasted far too long,

But the people of Japan remained patient and strong.

The city of Hiroshima was bustling with life,

Citizens awake early on their daily routine unprepared for the strife,

That would sweep over the land like a dark, overshadowing cloud,

Along with the deafening sound of sirens, so high-pitched and loud.

No one really grasped the severity of the situation,

The immense danger that they would face, the horrible abomination.

SUDDENLY, A BLAST EXPLODED INTO THE AIR,

No sound, no pain, so magnificent and fair.

No screams were heard for miles around,

Just peace and silence was left to surround.

Minutes later, the whispers and moans barely began to arise,

As the deathly mushroom up in the skies only grew in its tremendous size.

“It’s the end of the world for sure!” they thought,

But the hibakusha, the survivors, fought,

Fought for their lives through the dirt and the rust,

And escaped from the rubble of fallen buildings and the “shadows” on the burnt earth’s crust.

These sorrowful memories still haunt them today.

Their scars, deformities, and sadness still bring them pain in a mental way.

They made it through the bombing, the suffering, they should be proud,

And yet the names of those lost can’t even be said out loud.

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