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Syndic Literary Journal

Poetry by TAKI Yuriko


by TAKI Yuriko



 “If I Knew That I Would Die Tomorrow. . .”

By TAKI Yuriko

Translated by John and Deborah Saxon

If I knew that
I would die tomorrow,
What would I do right now?

That poison, money, was what
Enticed us Japanese,
Who knew Hiroshima and Nagasaki all too well,
Into permitting nuclear power.
They came to poor areas,
Throwing money around,
Without which it soon became impossible
To get by.
Everyone bathed in newfound cash,
And 54 nuclear plants “for peace” went up
In our tiny land.
Camouflaged deterrence.

It’s quiet.
Can’t see anything.
Don’t smell anything.
A nice autumn day.

Right after the accident
The government launched
An “All is Safe” campaign blitz.

But we had to start making
So many more decisions.
Evacuate? Don’t evacuate?
Eat it? Don’t eat it?
Hang my wash out? No?
Wear a mask? Don’t need it?

Silence your mocking!!
We were abandoned by our government.
Exposed to radiation.
Made to be guinea pigs.

What creatures on earth
Kill their own kind?
Only humans.

“Is Nuclear Power Finished? Or Is Humanity Finished?”

By TAKI Yuriko

Translated by John and Deborah Saxon

Fukushima elementary and junior high school students
Had questions to ask.
“How old will I be able to get?”
“Can I still become an adult?”
“When I grow up, will I be able to have normal kids?”
“If all the electricity was for people in Tokyo,
Why did Fukushima kids have to suffer so much?”

Schools had been directed
By the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
To teach that
“Nuclear power is safe and clean.”
Now the children were questioning its officials,

But the officials never deviated from
Oft-repeated answers like
“We will work with all our might”

An 11-year-old boy lashed out,
“Your answers make no sense!”
“You’re adults, but you don’t even listen to our questions!”

A mother cradling her infant asks the doctors,
“Will my baby live longer than I?”

One elderly man kills himself,
His body no longer able to cope
With life on the crowded evacuation center gym floor.
His suicide note says,
“I’ll evacuate to my grave.”

Eight months after 3/11,
The Fukushima nuclear accident
Has no resolution in sight.
All 4 reactors could easily go critical at any time.
Nuclear power’s poisonous identity
Has been unmasked.
Yet radiation continues to spew into the air, the earth and the sea.
As the situation became too awful to report,
TEPCO* began drawing a curtain of concealment.

These Fukushima children say,
“This is no ghost town.
We want to live here.”
“Don’t ask God for help.
People created nuclear power, and people must end it.
The adults’ work is to rid the world of nuclear power.”

The Fukushima children ask,
“What hope is there in a world of
Never-ending radioactive exposure?”
“Is nuclear power finished?
Or is humanity finished?”

Everyone above kindergarten age
Now knows what “radiation” means.
Their response: “I shall not die yet. Goodbye, radiation.”

*TEPCO – Tokyo Electric Power Company

Note: TEPCO maintains that the tsunami caused the entire accident. However, one of the four plants melted down only because the electrical power to operate the plant was cut by the earthquake. Terrorists could conceivably trigger similar power outages remotely via computer to cause meltdowns like this one in the future.

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