Queens Of The East And West | Sojourners

Queens Of The East And West

Dedicated to the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, destroyed by atomic bombs August 9 and 11, 1945.

Amida, oh merciful Buddha
Jesus, gentle shepherd of the seas
Walk on waves, bring us water
last merciful act before death.

Benten's cry calls you Jesus.
Lady of the lake, Queen of the Isles,
her torii stands like a silent
old monk watching Hiroshima.
Mono no aware wo shiru
life's like a small bird
fallen from the nest.
She cries into her kimono
for the lover consumed in flames.
Life's like the cicada's shell
left along the garden track.
She cries into her sleeve.

Amida, do not forsake Mary,
Lady of the heavens, Morning Star.
Her cathedral, only the spokes
of a dome, is a vacant theatre
in Nagasaki.
Life's like the blinded Jewess
in medieval Gothic
sight robbed by her children
mad architects of destruction.

She holds a dead son in her arms.
Life's like a lost child.
She cries into her sleeve
Mono no aware wo shiru.

*Mono no aware wo shiru—feeling of compassionate love for the fragile beauty of life.

Marijo Grogan had previously lived and worked in Japan and was working toward a master's degree in social work at the University of Michigan when this poem appeared.

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