The City of Shadows

The City of Shadows


The city of shadows and concealed memories.

Our aircraft flew towards Berlin.

That same flight path of so many bombers before us.

It was a winter's morning above a frozen landscape.

A train took us into a city of contrasts.

Through disfigured suburbs old and new.

Into the the hauptbahnhof, the citadel of all.

Then on to our hotel in the eastern sector.

I could sense an indescribable feeling.

As if I was walking over the graves of the dead.

A sombre atmosphere which defied expression.

Buildings pockmarked by intense shelling.

These remained as memorials of resistance.

A city scarred by evil.

Dark burnt facades of old apartment buildings.

I felt as if I was in an orchestra pit.

As instruments made disjointed sounds.

In preparation for a requiem.

Street names whispered through hollow alley ways.

Trams and trains rattled incessantly.

All was cold and forbidding.

A frosty air with no sign of hospitality.

A sky heavily laden yet with shadows.

Under a satanic drizzle.

Dark isolated corners which offered a glimmer of light.

Not once did I see a banner or a flag.

Not once was I greeted in the sreet.

Only stone buildings of times past told their story.

Landmarks of a foreboding and hidden past..

War memorials of the allies where guards stood still.

An expanse of dark concrete coffins that spoke of murder.

In the heart of the city a Jewish lamentation from the past.

Emotions collided in the frozen air.

The Reichstag, an edifice whose soul had been torn out.

Memories trickled insiduously in the dark waters of the Spree.

I stood in time, overshadowed by another time.

Days of a menacing past with intense rumblings and lost souls.

Years had elapsed but the memories lived on.

Memories in each and every stone of this dreaded and darkened city.




◄ Birds of a Feather

Taras Shevchenko ►


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Kevin Tan

Sat 27th May 2023 21:41

Yes. Takes me back to Berlin. This is absolutely stunning. Masterpiece Keith.

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kJ Walker

Sat 27th May 2023 07:38

One of your best Keith.
It's strange how visiting a place where something has happened can transport you back to the time of those events.
We visited Belson while living in Germany, it was impossible not to be moved.

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Stephen Gospage

Sat 27th May 2023 07:13

You have really raised your game here, Keith. It is strange how, despite the rebuilding and regeneration of Berlin, something of the old city (whether it is the decadance of the Weimar years, the post-war ruins or the separation by the wall) still remains.

You capture so much in this marvellous poem. Thank you.

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Manish Singh Rajput

Fri 26th May 2023 18:36

Powerfully written, Keith. Highly descriptive and evocative.
Thank you.

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John Botterill

Fri 26th May 2023 13:23

A fabulously macabre poem, Keith. Very powerful and evocative. Stunning!
It reminds me of the first poem of yours I read, which was a war poem, too, and had a similar sense of movement. Epic.

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