Nations United


A secured park on an African hill

Two rows of flags at peace parade the walk

Their nations rarely know tranquility, so  

Grand, grandiose minds confident 

in their walled garden of virtue

Assurance, conviction, self regard,

Gather in hushed, careful

Controlled conversation within,

Masking uncontrollable events without.


Dispassion displaces diplomacy

Process prorogues progress

Narrative negates nature

Paper preempts people;

Words, words, anodyne words

Lay waste to the world

While people die 

Below the soft blue sky, 

Their flags fluttering in harmony.


About this: The second largest UN office complex occupies a bucolic park in suburban Nairobi. Secure from the tumult of African life, diplomats and factotums walk the long avenue of parallel flags, gathering every day in earnest conversation, meetings, and conferences, all confident that, soon, they will right the world. 

Outside the gate, the taxis wait, and the rest of the world carries on, mostly oblivious to, and unaffected by, whatever happens in that park.

 © Philip Knight 2018