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The walls of Spandau speakHoward Brenton
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Vol. 10 No. 19 · 27 October 1988
Poem

The walls of Spandau speak

Howard Brenton

194 words

The day the Nazi died his prison walls
Were just hard dust
Waiting to be smashed by demolition balls

Swung from cranes to crack the hardened crust
of that dead history –
The walls of Spandau thought ‘We know we must

Be pulverised to blow the memory
Of the horror that we held
Away into win air. Now we’re free

The past falls with us, we are dispelled
With the old lies
Forgotten, we are a truth condemned, expelled

An unseen cloud of molecules blown
Across the European skies
Into the lungs of a bureaucrat on the phone

Brussels to Paris, into the innocent eyes
Of a child in a London park
Onto the feet of irritating flies

Buzzing a Cannes ice-cream, onto the dark
Lips of a whore in Amsterdam
Into a German’s beer, we are the dirty mark

The rain leaves on a Stockholm window pane.
We faced with stone what you now sham
We were imprinted by a monstrous pain

So! Check the food, the water and the air
We are in you and will rise again
We are cancer, we are there

We will be revenged and rise again.’

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