At the Dead of Noon, a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

A screenshot for “Duck and Cover” (1952), early cold war era propaganda film for children (U.S. Public Domain)

If you weren’t there
you can hardly imagine the beauty,
the exquisite peace of those hot summers
Sun as bright as a child’s heart
Trees thickly leaved and old as God
Heat rising off the nubby concrete
in mighty rainbow waves and life
moving in time to the music of paradise
Or, so it seemed to preschoolers at play

At the dead of noon
a stillness
Even the child sensed it
that transcendent moment,
nature in quiet meditation
no breeze
no sighs
no butterflies winging
children stopped playing
grown-ups stopped working
the Hudson Bay stilled its roiling

the beloved city choked on the swell of an air-raid siren ….

…. testing

just testing

just blowing a chill wind into
languid days of childhood dreaming
toddlers crying for toddler reasons
well-trained grade-school children
diving under oak desks for the required

. . . duck

and cover

As if that would save us from extinction.

© 2011, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved


The cold war: there was so much revealed by the singularity of that time. What crazy quirks do you remember or have you heard about from those you know who lived through it?

If you are comfortable, leave your work or a link to it in the comments section below.  All shared pieces will be published on this site next Tuesday.