I had just completed reading a book by one of my favourite authors, Douglas Kennedy. The book, The Moment, is a haunting Romance set “amidst the stunningly atmospheric portrait of Berlin in the final dark days before the Wall came down” (extract from book summary)
So it was serendipity when I was invited on a Business trip to Berlin about 5 years ago. I couldn’t wait to walk the streets of this piece of dramatic history, trying to capture all I had imagined while reading my novel . Join me as I walk you through some of the streets of Berlin, my experiences and observations. I must state up front that I loved modern day Berlin and we all had a great time especially since we visited in Summer.
This street leads to Check Point Charlie which was the name given by Western Allies to the main crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War (1947–1991).This was the wall which controlled emigration between East and West Berlin and controlled and separated many families and friends.
Many years later, it’s part of a tourist adventure to pose for a photograph at this entrance which was once the source of pain and hardship for many.
Below is a sample of passports combined in a collage which I discovered in a shop along this street. It symbolises the control and passport to life in those bitter-cold years.
For some, the Berlin Wall was one of the most abominable structures ever built.Over its 28 years of existence, it was decorated with political slogans,paintings, declarations of love and served as a form of protest. Below is a remnant of the wall. Such remnants became a collector’s item after the fall of the Wall in 1989.
The Brandenburg Gate is an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin and one of the best-known landmarks of Germany. A beautiful sight when lit up at night , the gate was initially designed to showcase freedom and triumph. Though still a great attraction, the Brandenburg Gate became intimately entwined with times of intense turbulence including it’s significance in the cold war and the Berlin Wall.
In place of the old Berlin Wall, a memorial wall was established to depict the history of the wall and what it stood for. I watched on that Saturday afternoon as someone cried uncontrollably while reading the stories on that wall – over 20 years after its fall.
Fortunately, change eventually comes and I like to think that the picture below, on the other side of the memorial wall, represents a picture of the modern day liberty and fun in the sun in Berlin. I stopped here to enjoy a delicious Currywurst roll, soak up the sun and admire this makeshift piece of beach heaven and haven.
Not too far away, I found this colourful block of buildings, though near to Checkpoint Charlie, far removed from the grey hardship and bleak history of what was once East Berlin.
I love stories with good endings. Join me next week for more street walking in Berlin.Thank you for reading and you are welcome to comment.
Sometimes the pain is unyielding,
deeply plunged with serrated edges.
Only you can see the ghoulish images
stuck on repeat, record, rewind, replay…
Brother take my hand because I understand
how the weather won’t efface, nor time erase,
the graffiti on the wall of your remembrance,
bleeding paint, rolling from those crying eyes.
Why does midnight seem so dark and cold
when you’re feeling strapped and alone?
While Insomnia wrestles your demons away,
daylight can’t seem to come soon enough.
But it eventually does Brother, it does!
See… the bleeding has stopped for a while.
When you looked out of your window
and saw that other artists had been at work…
Painting their own graffiti walls, you knew
that there were others outside just like you,
chasing ghosts at midnight, in frenzied spritz,
their pain transformed into nobel–prized art.
We’ll rise from the ashes again Brother!
Take my hand, you may lend me yours too.
A cerebral flash!
A profound touch
to the tenderness of my soul,
many lifetimes threaded
into a resplendent tapestry
of the universe’s life force.
Its inner sanctum-
portraits of good and evil.
These thoughts flared
in my curious mind
when you came along.
Wandering pilgrim, triumphing
the great adventure of life’s sojourn,
the crafting of our humanity
as you traverse vast landscapes
of mountains, oceans and skies,
sharpening its definition.
Until that day comes-
when your painter’s brush
completes the grand masterpiece,
exalted with the best.
But of equal significance
is winning the contest within oneself.
I want the painting
To stay as it is,
Not to lose the sparkle
In his eyes,
Or the faint blush
On her cheek.
And yet, one more
Stroke of the brush
Could set them free …..
If I could paint,
I would wash the background
with all my tears of wasted years,
blend the dark with pastel shades,
of new love I had found.
Then with brilliant colors,
foreground with flourish,
flashes and flush,
with dazzling diamonds,
of the golden years
I’m longing to spend
with only you.
I never thought I’d feel it again,
that raw urge,
that sense of release
to feel whole again,
in control of my own freedom,
to touch the magic:
feel its pulse, one with my own,
the tremulous anticipation
that you always feel,
on that decisive occasion
of the first time,
that long awaited moment.
That’s how I felt
from the first stroke,
lubricated with blushing color
and sweeping motions.
poured out of me
as I laid my dream bare
on the smooth white canvas.
(Inspired by the Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book –
Big Magic: Creative living beyond fear)
You’ll not fall on your sword
And I’ll not take an asp to my arm.
We both know the folly of such an act.
But at least indulge my daydreams
As I will give flawless blossoms to yours.
Paint me a portrait of our soulful love
In words that catch the trick of the light.
Sculpt a statue that moves in iambic rhythm
In sync with the person you’ve come to know,
Then strum a melody into the flow of your verse.
You’ll not reach the top of Mount Everest
And I’ll not swim across the English Channel.
Neither of us has such urge or tenacity,
But at least listen to my silent words
And I’ll lend vocabulary to tag your feelings.
Just keep in pursuit of the perfect alchemy
That will bring you eagerly back home to me.
As we wind down for the year,I’ve been reflecting on what my few months of blogging have been all about. I ended up doing more poetry posts than I thought I would do. Had lots of fun trying out different forms and techniques, dabbling in fantasy and fiction and sometimes reflecting some of my realties. Each time I’ve read someone else’s blog, I’ve taken something away to learn and to grow and if not simply to entertain, I hope I’ve touched others’ lives in some meaningful way. This year has had extreme highs and lows for me and blogging has been an integral part in my journey. As I take a break, I thought I’d share a few quotes that resonate with me as an aspirant poet and artist.
Happy holidays to all and thanks for your support. Chevvy.