Friday, October 5, 2007

Songs of Hungry Ghosts

The Old Man in the Park
Hiroshima, Japan

As he reached the end of the main thoroughfare the old man turned a corner and was surprised to see the shell of the bombed out building directly in front of him. Its skeletal dome was illuminated from below, causing it to stand in sharp relief against the evening sky.

As he approached the monument he was afforded a more complete view of the surrounding area. Although there were now lawns encircling the dome and modern bridges straddling the river, the topography seemed strangely familiar to him from old newsreels and photo journals.

The closer he came, the harder he found it to focus on the building’s spidery form. He had been unaware of the mist which clouded his eyes and he struggled to suppress the unfamiliar emotions which now welled up inside him. He let out a heavy sigh, and cast embarrassed glances in each direction, concerned that others might observe his disquiet.

It was then that he noticed a mournful sound floating on the evening air. Across the river two young musicians were singing. Their position under a concrete bridge caused their verses to echo eerily around the park before flying down the river like hungry ghosts. Though he could not make out the words, to the old man they sounded like the saddest lamentation imaginable.

A bird flew overhead and the old man cast his eyes heavenward. Then it was here. He struggled to frame the thought.

In reply came a roaring silence followed by the distant hum of traffic. Such mysteries confounded explanation. Thereupon, shaking his head and wiping his face on his sleeve, the old man continued on his way.


spaewaif said...

Beautiful post title...

Shiffi Le Soy said...

Thank you. I can see how a Cindytalker might respond to that phrase! : P

Cushion Meg said...

Very impressive! Your description of the old man coveys deep agony and lament for Hiroshima.

Martin S. said...

Nice writing.