The True Cost Of Freedom (The Wall)

Today the city’s wet pavements
Remind new generations
The personnel price of freedom.
I read the straitened buildings
As I cross steel rivers,
Trundle over concrete borders
Made invisible by hammer and will power.
Borders which defined a generation
Of fathers and mothers
Defined the hads, and had nots.

Multi-coloured slabs of wall
Jut up from clean streets,
Like hobos teeth,
Dirty reminders of a past
That gnawed and bit at hope
While merciless bullets and rope
Took lives for arbitrary purpose.
The rivers of blood have dried
From a million terminated lives
But brother selling brother
Left a question mark
Hanging over the city like a noose.

We must be heading West
As we pass bridges, and houses
Lose their sharp corners
Decedent in their minimalist furnishings;
Squats sit fenced in
Like their anarchy is contagious;
Graffiti art and slogans
Shout to commuters:
Emancipation is not earned
Via a payslip, and freedom
Is not slavery to clock.
And even rush hour is quiet,
Maybe someone is listening.

London’s bombs are long forgotten
Its war now is with the present
History a BBC 2 documentary.
The past is closer here
Its lessons tacit in memorials,
Museums and old pieces of wall
Reminding new generations
Of the true cost of freedom.

Author’s Note: This poem is about the Berlin Wall.

Paul Crompton is an itinerant soul moving from Norfolk to Brighton via the U.K.'s West Country. By day he writes for a business magazine and by night attends Brighton's many spoken word events. Read other articles by Paul.