Midnight in Berlin
Midnight in Berlin
I left the Brandenburg Gate deserted
my steps echoing in the cool night air
the stone slabs before me, looked inviting
a place to sit and rest weary legs.
That was when only a few were visible.
Turning I witnessed row upon row, stretching onward
each the same shape, but of varied hight
the Berlin monument to the holocaust
is vast, organised and methodical.
Mirroring the oppression.
the contrast of light and shadow beckoned me
the ground dipped, the hight of the slabs increased
you are suddenly corralled by
immovable intimidating impregnable impediments.
Corridors to north, south, east and west offering the same outcome
The sudden sound of running feet, somewhere in the maze
young people, sprinting stopping,
looking then sprinting again
searching their friends, lost within the labyrinth.
Representing those that thought they retained some control
My mind flashed to people, directed into lines
they step forward one at a time.
To be searched and processed for onward travel
The receptacle beside the guard is already overflowing.
Random items are confiscated without reason
A young man is taken aside and questioned
on who he associates with, his political views
banking, employment details and address taken to be verified
that he may be flagged for scrutiny.
Used as an example, to insure others do not question.
Berlin 1935, or an airport in 2015,
the power of the state is just as frightening
This poem deals with the early years of the holocaust, the time when the unthinkable “final solution” was still, unthinkable. It is in no way attempting the minimise the mass murder of people on the basis of their religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, level of ability or educational achievement.
It is however attempting to point out that when the government places stringent restrictions of movement, opinion, association, free speech, or criticism of the government, based on a perceived or inflated risk, it rarely ends well for the general public.
Like the memorial to the Jews in Berlin, by the time you realise the true nature of the state’s power, you are entangled and it is too late.
It is time to learn from the past.