barbed wire in between – March 1979

first published online by the then World Haiku Review in 2002

shared for d’Verse Open Link Night Mar 2022:

March 1979
This article is dedicated to Dr Yedidah Cohen, Safed, Israel, and her study of truth. – BS Nov 2014

I have returned form East Germany yesterday, after three months of study. It was not an easy time. I was born there, brought up in the West. My parents’ rejection of their roots took me, as an adult, back to see for myself. –

My critical questions while permitted, were not encouraged, rarely answered, mostly dismissed. Our teachers were my age when the GDR came into being. Their enthusiasm and quest have long been stifled. A scheduled visit to Sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial site last week brought a shift, as I stood there, in one of the dark rooms of the exhibition, next to a glass case with documents, and with people silently passing me by.
I had no words then and still  have no words for that moment. Yet, something happened. After reflecting on this many times, the best I can say is: A Vow was taken, for me.
Several of my fellow students had declined to attend, “we have seen it all before”. Taking us back where they themselves started, teachers suddenly seemed to understand: I need to go to the roots of the motivation, that this may never happen again (here and now, physically), and renew the motivation from facing that which must never happen again – where else?

“He asked me, ‘son of man, can these bones live?’ – ‘Only you know’, I answered.” (Ezekiel)

“The GDR has been an experiment – what else could we have done?” (Stephan Hermlin)

“Communication and discussion take place through concepts, but all insight lies behind the conceptual scene. … there is always a danger that (a reader) will attend to the concepts rather than the underlying insight, (particularly) when the point to be grasped by insight is merely that there is no point.” Bernard Lonergan)

So in the end, I left East Berlin with a sense of freedom, clarity and reconciliation- out of confusion.

Barbed wire in between –
Love overflows train window sun,
Patrols both on guard.

Home, last night – I found myself free from a compulsive neurotic symptom, a freedom always already there, but never yet reached fully still.



-Ezekiel, 37, 3

-East Berlin Author Stephan Hermlin

-Bernard Lonergan, Insight, quoted from Lonergan Reader p.65


first published by World Haiku Review online, ca. 2002 

~ by Barbara S on April 5, 2022.

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