Take the ferry to Sveaborg,
which is what the Swedes called
what the Finns would call Soumenlinna,
by which they meant the
a UNESCO World Heritage Site,
as a very much admired example of a fortress
Which, like all admirable defenses,
turns out to be inadequate:
The Great Wall
The Maginot Line
Sveaborg / Soumenlinna . . . .
The Russians simply bypassed it in 1808,
THEN laid siege from the Mainland . . .
Now it is a picnic park,
and a place for weddings or wedding pictures
land from the ferry,
buy bottles of water
and walk the gravel path
to the other end of the island(s).
on the sandy dunes
bulwarked with stone and granite
and imagine the star-shaped battlements
bristling with cannon
commanding the harbour
It seems plausible . . .
It seems formidable . . .
But it wasn’t.
the cannons are plugged or spiked
tho’ you can still run your hands inside
to feel the rifling
they lie idle, undone
oxidizing. . .
I think it would be good sport,
once a year, in a ceremony,
to fire one of the guns
like a drill for the admiralty
to demonstrate lethality
that while it is all so obsolete
in the face of modern war,
that it was so ineffective
in its own time