What the Berlin Wall sees when it looks at us

Hedges are trimmed to perfection,

The grass is cut clean,

The leaves are raked,

And the landscape is perfect.

The sun is shining bright,

the people walk by noisily,

the tour guides point me out.

Hey look at this here, who knows what I am,

No one, really, I separated an entire city?

Caused nearly two hundred deaths,

Still don’t know what I am?

I am the Berlin Wall.

I stand at eleven feet eleven inches and used to separate East and West Berlin.

I tore families apart, I made people take sides, and I was a bother to all.

Now I am strewn all around the world, a piece of me here a piece of me there.

I stood as a barrier for twenty seven years,

Encouraged nearly five thousand to cross over me,

Whether by driving through me,

Hot ballooning over me,

Jumping from windows above me,

Or climbing on top of me.

I caused nations to quarrel,

To send troops,

To put up their guns and fight.

I was a means to an end,

I was a separator and meant nothing to the people who created me.

But now I am a reminder.

I mean something to the community of Chapman,

Of orange,

Of California,

Of the United States.

I inspire learning,

Provoke thinking and inquiring,

I am more than a wall that destroyed lives.

I am a memory of a place no one wants to return to.

I am the story of all those who lived on either side of me,

And the reminder to be grateful you can walk around me.

From the first day in Liberty Plaza in 1998 I saw a different world.

I saw a world with hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

I saw a world with a future within reach,

I saw the smiles of students walking to class,

The grins of professors sharing their knowledge,

The pride of community members walking their dogs on this beautiful campus.

I saw for the first time a world I could be proud of,

A world that was not in turmoil or fighting against each other,

At least that is what I can see from my vantage point.

From where I stand I see hope, freedom, and joy.

Three things I thought I may never see again.


One thought on “What the Berlin Wall sees when it looks at us

  1. I’m still unsure about personifying the Berlin Wall segment, but I appreciate your conviction to the viewpoint so I’ll defer to your artistic desires. I am interested in other poems that do this; since you said you found some you liked, please pass them along to me so I can broaden my tastes. 🙂

    One of the things that most works for me about this poem is the hope it brings when you let the wall say lines like, “From where I stand I see hope, freedom, and joy. / Three things I thought I may never see again.”

    What new things did you learn with this observation? Does the wall still intrigue you or has it written its way out of your system?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s