Thursday, July 01, 2004


cold war Posted by Hello

In the spring of 1989 it became apparent that something new and strange was happening in Eastern Europe. When the Hungarians opened their border with Austria a flood of East German refugees poured into Hungary and then on to the West. That summer, alerted to these seismic rumblings, I flew to Vienna and travelled from there to Budapest, Prague and East Berlin. Change was in the air and you could feel it in your bones that it was only a matter of time before the whole system collapsed. In the late summer and early autumn the great marches and mass demonstrations began. By the end of the year nearly all of the governments of the former Soviet Bloc had toppled and their borders, at last, were open. It was as though an Ice Age had come to an end ....

As one they came,
a manyheaded multitude,
determined, not particularly brave,
impatient just to brush away
the webs and cords that bound them,
to find their way to freedom.
All changed, changed utterly
("the words of a dead man
are modified
in the guts
of the living . . .").
A terrible beauty is born,
as when in the hushed and hardwon chamber
one soft imprinted kiss
brought a tingle of bloodborne life
to the silent frozen form
and a world awoke
as it now awakes
to a shy but troubled dawn.