Berlin in June

Such beautiful blue skies! Parks,
pleasure boats on the Spree
and across the imperial parade ground
a soft breeze from the east
cools the walls of the restored Reichstag,
and stands up the tricolour of black and red and gold.
Through the warm afternoon, electric scooters bearing citizens
glide to and fro. These mellow scenes are beyond
the imaginations of those Berliners who lived here
during the hardest possible days,
when Russian soldiers roamed the streets and took pieces of
burned timber to scrawl victory slogans against the ruins.
The graffiti is there today, on the walls of what is now called the Bundestag,
the messages sanitised by brilliant architects,
Moscow-Smolensk-Berlin,
some made almost whimsical
A dream came true
by history, by the years of constancy and the application of clear rules
Berlin’s wary dispensation of power across the Federal Republic.
And hard work, years of hard work and skilful decision-making.
Oh, and smart engineering.
The art of making things people want to buy.
Today the parliamentarians have gathered in the chamber
to debate an old problem:
“Right wing extremism in Germany”.
Aides hurry down the Bundestag’s corridors,
the public galleries are full.
The Russians were here and always beat the Germans,
and in the elegant members restaurant on the first floor
over plates of white asparagus and wiener schitznel
I f*** H in the arse
a Christian Democrat and his adviser
(proportional representation has nurtured post-war political constellations,
it’s like reading the rings through a tree)
patiently attends to the concerns of a British delegation
just off the plane with a plan to break the Brexit impasse.
The miserly mathematics of the House of Commons
perturbs the German, the contrariness of the British people offends him
though he is much too polite to say so
and instead offers his sympathy and a naive solution
which tells his British guests,
if they are listening carefully,
that everyone has their problems
and that they are going to have to solve this one on their own.

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