spring in berlin // undivided

“i didn’t think berlin’s that green” i say,
“actually–” he smiles,
“it’s a forest with some houses”

my bike purrs peaceful,
stretches like a cat into the spring sun,
handle bell jingles softly,
shivering over cobblestone,

kreuzberg, west, on eastern territory,
cheek to cheek with the dividing wall,
——-tulips,

Osman cleans
the small spot off the rubbish that a punk left
& plants vegetables, sells them on the market,
in between land,

there are a thousand faces,
& a billion stories,

i stare at polaroids of those,
brave enough to fight a mad regime,
bled to death, shot// left lying on the strip,
border between east & west,
he was only 19

on the pavement,
on a shaky chair, opposite the church,
i eat rice & tofu,

a little japanese boy
tip-toes after me as i go to the bathroom,
waits in front the door,
mumbling in his own tongue,
knocking secret morse code,
&smiles brightly
as i open it again,

he plays with Milow
(rescued from a splintering chicken bone)
on the cobble plastered place,
chasing sun rays,
barefoot on the grass,

you never plan
to fall in love, it happens,
like a sunrise, rain, natur(e)ally,
un-dramatic,
much like evening leaning casually
into the night, i drink my tea

& on the walk back,
from the darkest corners of her past,
hear this city whistling,
brave and unbowed
into spring’s awakening face

.

we’re writing spring today at dVerse…so dip your pen into a ray of sunshine, write a poem and join us when the doors open at 3pm EST..

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55 responses to “spring in berlin // undivided

  1. Berlin would be a fascinating city to visit; it/she has had such a central position in recent history and bears the scars of her turbulent life on the front-line of an ideological divide.

    I love the way you’ve woven so many stories together into a single piece, here. That’s a real skill that you have.

  2. Loved the poem and the words. What resonated with me are your words, and I quote,

    “kreuzberg, west, on eastern territory,
    cheek to cheek with the dividing wall,
    ——-tulips,

    Osman cleans
    the small spot off the rubbish that a punk left
    & plants vegetables, sells them on the market,
    in between land,

    there are a thousand faces,
    & a billion stories.”

    Indeed Berlin is the kind of place which can launch a billion stories from its many faces.

    Ironic though it may seem but earlier this month, I posted, ” Those faces of Berlin” on my blog-site and would you to read that post.I have mused on several questions which you may find of interest.

    Shakti

  3. so much here, the distinct feel of being in the passing of a day, a city’s brave past and present, love –

    “like evening leaning casually
    into the night”

    loved it claudia, beautiful homage to a city that survives, and loves again…

  4. Hi! Claudia…
    Spring in berlin // undivided
    “i didn’t think berlin’s that green” i say,
    “actually–” he smiles,
    “it’s a forest with some houses”

    • “you never plan
      to fall in love, it happens,
      like a sunrise, rain, natur(e)ally,
      un-dramatic,
      much like evening leaning casually
      into the night, i drink my tea…”

      Through your [very descriptive] poetic words you speak a truth…

      “& on the walk back,
      from the darkest corners of her past,
      hear this city whistling,
      brave and unbowed
      into spring’s awakening face…

      …as Spring is about to be Sprung!
      Thanks, for sharing!
      deedee 🙂

  5. I like the flow of your poem, from one story to another all connected seamlessly. Berlin has so many stories.. The little Japanese boy waiting would have been annoying, and refreshing rain bringing on spring (at last) would make one smile!

  6. I just love how you weave poetry out of the images. Clearly a lot of cities are green with just a few houses here and there. Certainly applies to Stockholm. To combine this with the stories of the wall.. Fits so well with the joy of spring.

  7. So many stories about Berlln … my mumme travelled to West Germany via Berlin, when she was 8 months pregnant with me … she was shot in the leg, but made it over to the other side … it was Winter …

  8. You draw a city alive, with room for cat bikes and children, photos of martyrs, and a humming and leaning into a gentler future. I’d like to visit and sit to see it awake. Publish this poem?

  9. I would like to see Berlin and see the history of its walls, inked with many stories ~

    I specially like the last two stanzas, there is much love and hope to look for beyond the dark past of the city ~

  10. How often a sight, sound, place will trigger an image from our past. Those memories, embedded in our being, are what makes us who we are and draw us home again. I loved reading this story so full of imagery painted with your words, of this city once divided, now one.

  11. In the video for Under the Milky Way by The Church, a girl walks all over town with a picture frame around her neck and holds it up as she looks at things, your poems make me think of you doing this…taking snapshots and stringing them together into stories.

  12. You can fall in love with places.Berlin sounds very interesting.with its past how could it fail to be…complex majestic fractured recovering from major surgery green…you convey all of these aspects very well

  13. I remember a time when I used to say the same thing about my own city, that it’s a forest with a few houses. 🙂 Now it’s just a forest of concrete with a little dash of green.

  14. I think I’ve just added a trip to Germany to my bucket list! Sounds wonderful, Claudia, and your descriptive ability makes it come alive. Enjoy every moment of it. I will try to get a spring poem in today or Tuesday.

  15. ..such a tantalizing poem that draws me into your world; I can feel some of the history that permeates the the scenery, and wish I could ride beside you on your bike with the bell through your proud city…

  16. This is the second time you mention the dark side of the east. I believe evilness rests upon being relatively good. Because, when you are, you must formulate what the good is. You make idols. And idols can justify whatever. The prime idol of communism was that ideas arise from the means of production, that is from experience. And that idol justified torture since Communism cannot tolerate secrecy in the labouring force. Secrecy in the labouring force is contrary to getting ideas from it.

  17. You make the simplest task seem as if it’s an adventure! The faces of these people and places you describe seem so exotic.

  18. Poet-Portrait of a city, and a girl who sees beyond the houses, the green. A huge cirt, which is itself a living thing. I can hear the pulsing in the night, steady as a sleeping one’s heartbeat.

    And a boy and a dog. And 3 lines about love, and the selling and buying of home?-grown produce.

    Claudia, you wrote a thesis in about 50 short lines of thoughts everywhere, of everything. How interesting this IS!

    I will go back through your posts to see where I may have missed the “bike”…maybe a photo of it somewhere?

    Love, you get younger and more than pretty with every change of profile photo.
    PEACE!

  19. Love the images here..and these words ring true..you never plan
    to fall in love, it happens,
    like a sunrise, rain, natur(e)ally,
    un-dramatic,
    much like evening leaning casually
    into the night…and the last stanza just gorgeous!

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