Bob Ward

Oppression rankled, uncertainty
   snapping at everybody’s heels
   brewed up a ferment, seething,
   that would not be contained
   once people dared to realise
   liberation was within their grasp.

But when truth cried out ‘Get free!’
   the distant power struck, stamped down,
   tanks commandeered the streets
   brought carnage, makeshift barricades
   collapsed upon the many dead.

Distraught, one desperate couple,
   truly believing they had lost
   their family amid the crush,
   saw no other option except flight.

Cloaked in grief, they fled,
   avoiding sentries’ ready bullets
   as they crawled beneath barbed wire
   onto freedom’s bloody soil,
   where they eked out edgy lives
   reduced to bearing witness
   only in a foreign tongue.

Years much later, it emerged
   that after all their children
   unbelievably had survived.
Under a reformed regime,
   reunion was now possible
   but between the generations
   razor-wire still wound its coils.

Eventually the husband died.
   I helped his wife arrange
   details for the solitary funeral.