Peace in the Balkans
The nightingale sang through the dark.
Below us snoozed a meadow,
its petal eyelids still closed at dawn.
Then, a frog chorus, announcements
croaked from bubblegum throats
summoning us to swim in the clean river.
Later, we ate black cherries plump with juice,
paid pennies for taxi rides, laughed aloud
at the indecipherable alphabet,
watched swallowtails like splashes of sunlight,
donkeys pulling hay-carts and then at night
the fireflies flashed electric green signals,
like lighters sparking us up the hill to bed
where we remembered whiskers, scarves,
home-made brandy, whirling dances
and gold-toothed greetings
until we were sung to sleep once more.
‘Peace in the Balkans’ by Joe Hackett was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (February 2016) judged by Roger Elkin