Berlin Postcard

Berlin Postcard

Saturday, October 3, was Reunification Day, the anniversary of the formal reuniting of East and West Germany in 1990.



Saturday, October 3, was Reunification Day, the anniversary of the formal reuniting of East and West Germany in 1990. Here in Berlin the big event was a weekend-long outdoor spectacle involving Die Riesen, giant marionettes created by the French street theatre company Royale de Luxe. Some two million people turned out to watch a huge little-girl giant and an even more enormous grown-up-man giant dressed as a deep-sea diver wandering in search of each other in various neighborhoods. It was meant as a ‘maerchen" or fairy-tale, although no one seemed to know the story of the little girl and the deep-sea diver. Something about separation and reunion, anyway. Since it was a beautiful warm blue-sky day (one of the few! it rains a lot here) my husband and I set out to find them. We walked and walked through the Tiergarten and stood in a huge crowd on Unter den Linden but the promised giants didn’t appear and eventually we had to leave. (Two bits of local anthropology you’d never see in New York: at the street fair stretching along Unter den Linden you could buy many kinds of alcoholic beverages, including schnapps, and just stand about pleasantly drinking; the great lawn in the Tiergarten, along which the crowds walked, was littered with the bicycles people had used to get there. Unlocked bicycles.)

My German teacher, Ursula, whom we ran into later, said the problem was that the little girl giant was kaputt. Sehr traurig! But late that night we saw the two giants at the Brandenburg Gate, sleeping. The little girl giant was sleeping on the big man giant’s lap. You could hear them breathing very quietly. It was strangely moving.



In other news, Garrison Keillor reads my poems much better than I do:

"What I Understood"


"Two Cats"


"Amor Fati"



You can find these and more in my new book of poems, TheMind-Body Problem, recently published by Random House. I’ll be quiet now.

Thank you for reading The Nation!

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read. It’s just one of many examples of incisive, deeply-reported journalism we publish—journalism that shifts the needle on important issues, uncovers malfeasance and corruption, and uplifts voices and perspectives that often go unheard in mainstream media. For nearly 160 years, The Nation has spoken truth to power and shone a light on issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug.

In a critical election year as well as a time of media austerity, independent journalism needs your continued support. The best way to do this is with a recurring donation. This month, we are asking readers like you who value truth and democracy to step up and support The Nation with a monthly contribution. We call these monthly donors Sustainers, a small but mighty group of supporters who ensure our team of writers, editors, and fact-checkers have the resources they need to report on breaking news, investigative feature stories that often take weeks or months to report, and much more.

There’s a lot to talk about in the coming months, from the presidential election and Supreme Court battles to the fight for bodily autonomy. We’ll cover all these issues and more, but this is only made possible with support from sustaining donors. Donate today—any amount you can spare each month is appreciated, even just the price of a cup of coffee.

The Nation does not bow to the interests of a corporate owner or advertisers—we answer only to readers like you who make our work possible. Set up a recurring donation today and ensure we can continue to hold the powerful accountable.

Thank you for your generosity.

Ad Policy