A Thousand Paper Cranes – April Ekphrastic Challenge

Wishes by Kerfe Roig

If I fold a thousand paper cranes
will my heart be whole again
will I feel the flutter of hopes in my veins

If I fold a thousand paper cranes
will my soul it’s shine regain
will I dare to dream again

If I fold a thousand paper cranes
will my mind cease it’s tear-rain
will I have sun bright wishes again

If I feel hopes flutter again
can I break the trauma chains
that forever all energy drain

If I dare to dream again
can I imagine life without pain
or am I forever stained

If my mind grows light again
can I escape depressions dark bane
stop wondering if I’m sane

If I fold a thousand paper cranes
will I feel free of forced constraints
can I new life purpose gain

If I fold a thousand paper cranes
will it be all in vain
or will I new meaning attain

If I fold a thousand paper cranes
will I understand truths arcane
will I have wishes, dreams and hopes again

©RedCat

When I was in middle school we read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes after which the class folded a thousand paper cranes (orizuru) that were shipped to Japan to be hung on the Children’s Peace Monument. As a good girl with nimble fingers I folded a whole lot of them, and I remember my wishes as I did so. That there would be peace and no nuclear weapons. But also intensely personal wishes, that I wouldn’t be bullied anymore, that my mother would acknowledge and kick her pill habit. None of the wishes, big or small came true.

I didn’t have any good folding paper, but I had to try. And wow, talk about muscle memory, I didn’t have to look at the instructions more than once before my hands knew what to do by themselves.


©RedCat

I also clearly remember, somewhere around the same time, finding (at the local library) and reading a comic book version of the bombs falling. I will never forget the graphic illustrations of burns and severe radiation damage. Wondering if it could still be found, I googled. And I found it in one search. And yes, I did remember the gruesomeness of the illustrations correctly.

In English it’s titled Barefoot Gen. When I found the picture of the Swedish cover (only the first book in the series got translated) my mind went; Yep, that’s the one! Apparently it’s the first Manga to be translated and released in Sweden.


To see all art and read all poems for today go to The Wombwell Rainbow.

Also shared on Open Link Night- LIVE #292 at dVerse.


“Gen, pojken från Hiroshima” (1985)
cover art by Keiji Nakazawa©Nakazawa/ Projekt Gen/ Bulls presstjänst.

Kerfe Roig

A resident of New York City, Kerfe Roig enjoys transforming words and images into something new.  Her poetry and art have been featured online by Right Hand PointingSilver Birch PressYellow Chair ReviewThe song is…Pure HaikuVisual VerseThe Light EkphrasticScribe BaseThe Zen Space, and The Wild Word, and published in Ella@100Incandescent MindPea River JournalFiction International: Fool, Noctua Review, The Raw Art Review, and several Nature Inspired anthologies. Follow her explorations on her blogs, https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/  (which she does with her friend Nina), and https://kblog.blog/, and see more of her work on her website http://kerferoig.com/

April Ekphrastic Challenge – GloPoWriMo 2021

14 thoughts on “A Thousand Paper Cranes – April Ekphrastic Challenge

Add yours

  1. Considering the nature of your introduction to paper cranes when you were young, this poem is fitting. “Tear-rain,” “trauma chains,” “forever stained,” “depressions dark bane,” “will I have wishes, dreams and hopes again.” Yes, very fitting.

  2. Oh my aching heart this is gorgeously poignant! Especially moved by; “If I fold a thousand paper cranes will I feel free of forced constraints/can I new life purpose gain.”💝 Loved hearing you read this gem tonight.

  3. An aching poignancy to the hope with the questions. How you tied this in with your school crane folding with wishes makes it all the more raw with emotion. Kerfe did such a beautiful collage and I really like the other image you chose with the perfect pink geraniums.

  4. Such a moving poem as is the story behind it. I didn’t know Sadako Sasaki’s story until now, but it is absolutely heartbreaking. Fans of The Bomb should be forced to read it and explain themselves.

  5. As I said last night, Helene, your poem is origami with words. It reminded me of this haiku by Kawaguchi Hitoshi:
    in folding paper
    there are mountains and valleys . . .
    cranes flying home
    The repetition of the line and the rhyme is so effective.

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