Helen Keller’s Fingertips

From Reverberations From Fukushima: 50 Japanese Poets Speak Out
by Masanori Shida

People around me let me touch their faces
without saying anything. 

Helen Keller, on a return trip to Japan in 1948,
visited Hiroshima.
She directly touched the A-bomb survivors’ keloid scars
and came to understand the horrors of the Atomic Bomb.

For Helen, who had lost her eyesight and hearing,
touch was her only means of knowing the world.
And her thin fingertips could extensively read
the absurdity of humanity
more clearly than the eyes and ears of those who can see and hear.

If Helen were to visit Fukushima now
and touch the ground with her fingertips,
what kind of scream would pierce her skin
and shake her soul?

We cannot see, though we have eyes.
We cannot hear, though we have ears.
Helen’s fingertips would point out
the absurdity of trying to rationalize our crime
simply out of attachment to fleeting prosperity.

Ah, I myself would like to touch the ground lovingly
with my own living fingertips
and open my eyes wide and listen attentively with my ears,
and pass the baton to the future with my own hands.

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