A Thousand Paper Cranes

by. Joanne Joseph

Every now and then she turns

The small paper upon her lap

Beneath every crease and every fold

Lies a story to be told.

A sheen of sweat shows upon her brow,

Tiredness gains upon her now,

But her path she knows will not alter

Even as her fingers grow weak, begin to falter.

She will not give up until

She has made a thousand paper cranes.

She pauses a second to glance

At the little table by her hospital bed

And smiles at the medicine box beside the door,

Knowing she will need it no more.

For her work will consume her entirely, soon

Yet it is all what sustains her too.

She continues to persist

Till all else blurs, ceases to exist.

To create those gifts of peace, one after the other

Till she leaves this eternity to enter another.

One crane for that fateful day

They bombed her hometown and took lives away.

Two more for the years she not only survived,

But made a new life for herself, and thrived.

And many, many more for, alas!

War has no mercy, it lets no one pass.

You think you have outstood the fight

But die slowly from its lasting bite.

The bombs had finally got to her

The doctors knew by that fatal tumour.

And that day since, she vowed

To make one thousand paper cranes.

Not more, not less; they would be a token,

A legacy left by a spirit unbroken.

Though she had not long to live,

She had a lifetime of peace and hope to give.

So now she turns and folds until

Her fingers stop, and grow still.

One last breath and one last glance,

The paper crane falls from her hands.

And that was how they found her.

Her family and friends surround her,

Looking around the room, and find

That she was still a few cranes behind.

They set about to make the cranes

So that she wouldn’t die in vain.

Every now and then they turn

The small paper upon their lap.

They didn’t pause once, not until

They had made a thousand paper cranes

At last.

And beneath every crease and every fold

The cry for eternal peace is recalled.