“A Siren Wailing for No Reason” … and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

The last Wednesday Writing Prompt July 12, 2017– 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?

Here are responses from poets: Renee Espriu, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Paul Brookes and poet and writer, Dan Roberson.  Bravo! 🙂

A Siren Wailing for No Reason

The sun had risen high in the blue sky
over rolling hills of farm country
causing a dry heat much as the roiling
heat of the home of her childhood
produced in waves upon asphalt streets

she knew the howl of a siren near by in
the close distance as she sat visiting
with her son her terrier mix at her feet
and he saw her puzzled look asking why
to glean the meaning of that sound now

for she recalled a time years past
in the elementary school days now gone
the drills that came, of getting down
upon the floor to hide beneath her desk
with her hands upon her head to wait

but as the memory flashed upon her face
her son smiled to say the neighbor
who lives not far likes to hear the siren
wailing as it does for not a reason
but he hears it every afternoon of a day

so she smiles with him to recall those
drills of her youth and hoping as she did
that her desk might shield her from harm
for it might come with her eyes shut tight
the all clear was given & she breathed a sigh

© 2017, Renee Espriu (Renee Just Turtle Flight and Haibun, ART & Haiku)

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.

© 2017, Dan Roberson (My Blog)

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.

© 2017, Dan Roberson (My Blog)

::cold war::


it will be today, and the plants are growing.

so they found a russian


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………………

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA)

..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.

i live in the country.

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA)

. fox hole.

colder in russia, that picture

shows soldiers froze

to death.

after the end

of that war.

second world war

there was that #coldwar.

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA)

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”.

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

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.

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Keep Off (A World Where 2)


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

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Note: Apologies to Renee, Dan, Sonja and Paul for the late posting.  It was just that kind of day.