Shield, wall, and fortress of our nation.
That’s what he called them -- his army.
Not ever mentioning the others
whose scent only wafts in his rooms,
when a window is slightly ajar,
but somehow know his every thought.
Shield, against the rays of sun that would
creep in and light the dark corners
that are never seen and never clean --
though the people hoped at first, when
he dined in cafes on tea and cake,
till the light in his doctor’s eyes changed.
Wall. Honecker’s wall -- one that keeps in
when they say out, one you can hear cry
bitte, min fadlik from cracking bricks,
one blindfolded shoulders slump against
because they knew it was time, or thought, ,
or simply could not wait another moment.
Fortress, where they will all be trapped, as
each day the masons arrive with trowels,
making sides too high for ladders out;
and rescuers come to ram the gates,
when the sounds die down and smoke turns white,
then stare and wag their heads, as though
they did not know it was happening.
© E R Olsen
Syria dispatch: battle for Aleppo hangs in the balance
E R Olsen writes poetry and practices law in Nevada, in the U.S., where he lives with his wife and four children. His poems have appeared in several U.S. journals, most recently in Viking.