This could be Rotterdam or anywhere, Libya or Rome

What is it? It is a

Conversation piece

Dots on a tree in

Different colours –what

Do they mean? One two three

Four and more, so many

We cannot count them

Without difficulty, some

Times two or three double

Into one round hole deeper

Than the others but

No more cylindrical,

Difficult to make out the

Difference from a distance,

Need to go up close to

Identify the nature of each pock

And what it has done to the tree

Behind, an indelible spot has come from

A gun or guns that once hung

Loose and then was cocked quickly

Under arms and blasted

Hotly at thin air between

It and the street, shooting

Everything to Eternity unless

It is a tree that can

Clot holes more effectively

Than blood, poorly sheathed

In skin not bark that can accept

The heat of deafening pierces

Without shattering into thousands

Of flashing and shard-filled niches.

And the colours? They don’t look

Natural. Actually they represent

Each flag that fed this tree with

Shrapnel and thus paint

A portrait that is true and clear,

More than any pact or international

Treaty, a picture of collaboration

Between nations to cross fertilise

Wars whose ends are unsure but

Whose sustenance sustains the governments

Economically and physically, boundaries they’ve made,

The counter-pacts and terrorism they’ve

Deeply invested in to preserve

Something that openly calls itself

Freedom and, when it thinks no one

Will wikileak its oil, whispers

The real fight, supremacy, before all

Goes quiet again and the friends who

Share a quiet room

Sealed off from the noise, as yet

Unspotted, get off pock-free.

 

 

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