Costs of War

Scribbled on the margin of the longest list:

Empty streets are cobbled,
cold without the vital touch of tourists,
the Siege of Dubrovnik has ended,
but the echo of war is loud
and not too distant.

Where are the pockets full of cash and curiosity?
Who will splash out on beautiful blown glass
objet d’art
and banquets from the abundant Adriatic?

Takings are meagre,
eyes of restaurateurs and souvenir sellers
feast of lobster and squid,
remains in the sea.

Heavy shelling and sniper gunshot
have bombed and cracked thick walls,
this city is cloaked in sturdy armour,
but there are reverberations,
rattling hearts and nerves
which have felt the heat of close fire.

A tourist destination without tourists,
their love is conditional,
they mutter from afar
‘may peace be with you’.


Note: I travelled to Bosnia-Herzegovina with my Mum in 1995 (with a side trip to Dubrovnik in Croatia). You can read about my trip here. You can read about the Siege of Dubrovnik here.

Note: Photo of Dubrovnik is free stock from here.