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Author: Christine Ann Clatworthy
Location: Bedfordshire, England

Christine Ann Clatworthy was born in London, but always dreamed of living in a country cottage with roses round the door. One day her dream came true when a handsome prince swept her off her feet, gave her two flaxen-haired daughters and a cottage with honeysuckle round the door. They all lived happily ever after until one day the precarious health of her husband and both her daughters made Christine's life-long passion for poetry take on a new dimension. Self-pity, or taking each day by the horns and laughing in the face of tomorrow? She chose the latter. She describes herself as an ordinary lady with an extraordinary need to write, which she does from their tiny bungalow in Bedfordshire. "We didn't only buy a house," she'll tell you, "but umpteen acres of sky, plus a stray black and white cat called Chess. Life is but a chequer-board of nights and days," Omar Khayyam once said, and I've got a hell of a lot of living to do before I'm ready to be put back in the closet!"

KUROI AME (Black Rain)

On the morning of August 6, 1945, the United States Army Air Forces dropped the nuclear weapon "Little Boy" on the city of Hiroshima. Three days later followed the detonation of the "Fat Man" bomb over Nagasaki, Japan. The approximation is that between 100,000 and 200,000 lost their lives instantly and in the immediate aftermath, most of them civilians. Countless thousands of others have died and are dying today, from the resultant radiation.

An ordinary morning
tumbled out of bed
looked out the window
then the sky turned red
a blinding, white light
roof tiles
falling all around
as I floated through the air
like an astronaut
no ordinary morning
when the sky turned red.

As the world turned upside down
day turned into night
landed on the ground
all around
heard the sound
of the wind
and someone crying
as the world turned upside down.

Then I heard a noise
like a thousand mosquitoes
was then I saw the ghosts
hundreds of them
slowly coming up the hill
from the city below
line after line
with their hands held aloft
skin peeling off
wet flesh
red flesh
the stench
too much to bear
reminded me -
the smell
was just like squid -

and looking in horror
as they came
in their droves
the living dead
such were the ghosts I saw
"give us water they begged,"
caught hold of my legs
gave them the dregs
from the well
and if the dead can die again
as I quenched their thirst
they did -
in front of my eyes.

In my childlike way
thought I was to blame
that I had killed them
but my parents said
the devil had -
he'd laughed so much that day
tears streamed down his face
and fell as black, poisoned rain --
my own tears long-since dried
yet I never have stopped
feeling ashamed.

61 years later
so what memories remain?
Seems everyone's forgotten
that God-forsaken day
that to some
was a lifetime away
and to those I would say
take a look at my skin
the kimono I was wearing
the pattern, indelibly burned in -
such is my everlasting legacy.

And what of the world
what does it see?
Ancient archive images in
stark black and white -
shame life's not like that
which beggars the question
just what colour would it be --
the colour of pain?

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