Wall in > Wall out

Do good walls make good neighbours?
And what is good about walls unless
They belong to my home
And cocoon me in against the elements,
Keeping me storm-free or unscorched,
Blanketed and private –
A space for me with my family,
Walls that stand between dignity
And life on the pavement.
But stand them up to embody
The shadow line of a political border,
Something that signifies the Other
As the intruder –
Walls that form the rampart
Of empire, of cold war, of occupation –
And create the enemy
Who is shut out, and cannot,
And definitely, should not impregnate it,
Shell it, crack it or cross it
Even if his brother lives
Or his farmland lies, or his mother’s grave,
And his fishing river and playmate tree
Exist beyond what he must see
As the territory of his enemy.
So while walls shut out
Suicide bombers, harvesters, employees
Of the starving free, they shut in
The wall-builder who cements fear
In brick and stone, in suspicion born
Of segregation that grows
Without association with the Other –
The unknown face of the foe
Which, if he had known intimately,
Could have removed walls from minds,
Discovering bonds in human kind
Instead of creating terror zones.