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

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

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 and
exquisite peace of those hot summers
Sun as bright as a child’s heart
Trees as old as God and thickly leaved
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
Hudson Bay stilled its roiling

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

…. testing

just testing

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

. . . duck

and cover

As if that would save us from extinction.

© 2011, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved


WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

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.


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

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9 thoughts on “At the Dead of Noon, a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

  1. MORE THAN A COLD WAR
    It was easy to see a war
    In someone else’s back yard,
    But the cold war brought ideas
    Of destruction to my street
    And to places where my feet
    Touched the ground.
    I thought often about homes
    Made of concrete buried deep,
    So how could I sleep?
    My thoughts were of the aftermath
    Of a crazy war with nuclear blasts
    Bringing a nuclear winter.
    Safe in a shelter but outside nothing alive.
    The fifties were a time when our land
    Was divided by race
    Separate but equal
    As long as the white equal was more.
    I remember small things,
    A prize I won at age twelve
    For having an answer to
    Name the governor who blocked the door
    Against black people who wanted more.
    They wanted equality.
    I saw street signs that said no blacks
    After 6 p.m. in several towns.
    The cold war was not somewhere else
    But also a civil war within our own country.
    I saw the war never ending
    As long as we continued bending
    Defining people by culture, language, or color
    Or whatever differences are around.
    We built shelters far underground,
    And never to be found.
    But someday we will want to breathe
    The same air, feel the sun, hear music
    And then the walls might come down,
    Ending the cold war, ending the barriers,
    Becoming the planet of the wise
    Without a disguise.
    Working and living together.
    No cold wars, no hot wars, not even rumors of wars.
    That’s my dream.
    July 13, 2017

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Cold War was a time of Self-Destruction
    The cold war was not your usual war. World War II was over and soldiers were home straightening out their finances, their lives, and learning to laugh again. It was a time of flexing military muscle, USA vs. USSR. It was a time of threatened security and talks about spies. It was an era of hidden ICBM missiles, tucked away in secret places, a time of country pride. The fifties was stifling, no laughter in the hallways, no mini skirts, no flowers in the fields. After several years of exuberant laughter, the world prepared for war, prepared to hide everything under its wings, and everything good seemed suspect. The Soviet Union displayed its might in parades. The USA pointed fingers at suspected communist sympathizers and tapped phone lines. But the worst effects of the cold war were the squashed dreams and ugly suspicions, the kind of things that tore families apart and ruined friendships.
    The fifties were nightmares waiting to happen. I remember a camping trip into the wilds. A friend and I drove hours looking for a deserted campground. We drove until dark, put out cots and listened to crickets and other insects singing. Just after three a.m. the ground began shaking and we leaped off our cots and prepared to fight.
    We stood there for a few minutes waiting for a German tank to come crashing through the brush. It never came. We were duped by our own fears and nightmares. The Cold War created a false reality. My friend had seen tanks in action and they became part of his dreams. I dreamed of the future where families would have to fight their way out of nightmares and fears. The Cold War was filled with tension and waiting, a time that people talked about eating their own young to save them from the wars to end all wars.
    July 12, 2017

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My third response:

    Keep Off (A World Where 2)

    Balance.

    All must be unequal.
    Walk one leg shorter
    than the other. One eye

    bigger, one ear lower.
    A work/life imbalance brings harmony.
    Male different from female.

    Unsteady, ever keenly aware
    ground uneven underfoot,
    Steps up and steps down.
    Heights varied keep you focussed.

    A balanced life is unreal.
    Accept un and imbalance
    as necessary and needed

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My second response:

    The Dominoes

    will fall into the evil empire.
    Able Archer practices
    War. How to tell it’s only

    make believe? These black
    doors with white dots
    are an iron curtain

    between supermarkets
    bloated with items unobtainable
    except through a black market

    on streets steeped in austerity.
    Act as if more material goods
    improve life while other folk

    say “We appreciated life more
    when we were poor.” Keep

    dominos from fall. Keep all upright
    and correct and buying.

    Material goods are freedom
    from the tyranny of enforced poverty.

    Rarity brings value and hope.
    The fall of the wall of dominoes.

    This was not imaginary.
    Pieces of the wall are bought and sold.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jamie, my first response.

    That M. A. D.

    I recall CND.
    Their sign that seemed
    To a ten year old
    three legs of the Isle Of Man
    cut off at the ankles.

    Cold war was parents divorcing.
    Mutual agreement to keep the balance.

    A wall is thought to help not hinder
    with barbed wire, gun emplacements
    watchtowers and divided lovers.

    Berlin is always black and white,
    divided into zones and checkpoints,
    negotiating passages for spies,

    and dark electronica where musicians,
    poets and novelists
    work out their nightmares.

    Divorce is mutually assured destruction.
    And Donna Summer sings “I will survive”.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jamie.My second response….

    ..cooler morning..

    she said it was a cold war, an iron curtain.

    it seemed warm to me that summer, we listened

    to the radio.

    a lot.

    we had patterened curtains, she did not like nets.

    drawn if it was raining, drawn against the sun.

    i could not imagine them metal.

    i rarely draw my curtains here.

    2017, i live in the country.

    sbm.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks Jamie. here is the first response….

    ::cold war::

    dampflight.

    it will be today, and the plants are growing.

    so they found a russian

    yesterday

    with codes and dvds

    and while on holiday

    fought and sat in trees.

    while all is changing round us,

    all is changing.

    listen ,someone upstairs,

    ready for tea

    and appropriate bun,

    and never mind the hour,

    and the rain.

    a thin mist,

    damp coating

    of the air,

    and a snail in the garden.

    we must not mind how it is,

    we must make the best of things.

    politics make not an ounce

    of difference here, we are black and white,

    and back before.
    ** (notes and cuttings)

    with the new scissors………………

    Liked by 1 person

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