After Kosovo by Richard Poole

“… as a systemic idea that has some dynamics, some real vitality, liberal democracy is really all there is now…”

Francis Fukuyama


If this is the end of history, why

do thousands wake in cold fields, faces

in their neighbours’ stink, minds mined

with memories of blood, a puzzled dog nosing

the glazing eyes of somebody’s grandmother?


If this is the end of history, why

do so many cheeks wear chains of tears,

as if water were the one thing they can squeeze out

from their arid selves when everything else

is gone – houses, chattels, husbands, wives, kids?


Yet this is the end of history after all,

for where’s the going back to the book of life

gone up in flames, charred covers like black

frontiers suddenly all that’s left of it, lettering

undecipherable in the raw light of dawn?



by Richard Poole