• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 10

Do you remember how

you railed against the loss of freedom,
the holiday postponed, the idle jets and cruise ships,
the difficulties of learning to cope with yourself,

your partner, your children, without the safety valves
of gym and football and music classes, the car, to turn
an afternoon of boredom into a hustle of activity,

how you delved deep into the you, the ego, even the id,
discovered treasures of who you are, how you learned
to love yourself, learned tolerance, how to bake banana bread?

and when you opened the door again to step outside, how
you were the first, the only one to understand the nature
of blue, the freedom of bird flight, the beauty of birdsong?

The hell was over, you rejoiced, the plague
vanquished, you could breathe deeply
without fear, the hugging could begin again.

but from the other side of history, the planet,
from worlds you never knew and never will, voices,
ancient and modern, raise in reproachful question

do you remember the fear of the sidelong glance,
more than curiosity, the hiding in cellars, attics,
living with blinds drawn against prying eyes,

shutters closed against bomb blasts,
the holding of loved ones through the din of the dark,
the tramping of boots, the knock on the door?


Do you remember how

Do you remember the fear of hunger,
the queuing in the streets strafed by gunfire,
the empty larder, the cabbage and water again and again,

goodbyes that might be eternal, the screaming,
trains, planes, loud voices in the night,
hands over a child’s ears at the crack of gunshots?

No, of course you don’t.