Where Are They Now

In 1967 I hitch-hiked to Belgrade.

My friend and I would take an over-night train

to stay with our Albanian friends

in what is now Kosovo.

Until then we had some hours to kill.

The local cafe culture called

and we ate a modest meal,

two great slabs 

of the ubiquitous cheese puff pastry

washed down with colas.

We went to the counter to pay

but the Server refused our money.

He pointed to a table where some guys

were enjoying a few beers.

They had already paid, he said.

We were mystified.

They had made no contact with us

and we tried to tell them we could not accept.

They explained that

they wished to thank us

for the help Britain had given in WW2.

Fast forward to 1999 

when the right to self determination was all the rage.

and NATO bombs were falling on Belgrade.

I thought about them a lot back then.

I think of them now

when the bombs 

fall in Europe

once again.

And I still have my friend in Kosovo. 

Sometimes we feel human,

sometimes not.



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