This weekend marked 50 years since the Berlin Wall was built, the beginning of a 28 year division of a city by a concrete barrier. The number of people who died trying to cross the Wall is disputed – at least 136 are known to have been killed but victims’ groups say the true number is more than 700. Yet against the odds, the wall came down in 1989, and since 1990 a reunited Germany has become a major player in a peaceful united Europe. I write the following poem in order to attempt to express the sheer horror of those who woke up on a morning in 1961 to a city and a world changed forever.
Imagine you woke up one day to a wall,
A concrete barrier dividing your city, your country,
A wire shackle to imprison you,
Like an animal in a cage,
For being beyond the barrier,
Your friends are denied to you,
Your lover’s touch and carress denied to you.
Imagine you had a hole in your soul, pierced by the barbed wire and concrete,
Imagine you woke up to a wall.