13 November 2011

Your Attention Please

The Polar DEW has just warned that
A nuclear rocket strike of
At least one thousand megatons
Has been launched by the enemy
Directly at our major cities.
This announcement will take
Two and a quarter minutes to make,
You therefore have a further
Eight and a quarter minutes
To comply with the shelter
Requirements published in the Civil
Defence Code - section Atomic Attack.
A specially shortened Mass
Will be broadcast at the end
Of this announcement -
Protestant and Jewish services
Will begin simultaneously -
Select your wavelength immediately
According to instructions
In the Defence Code. Do not
Take well-loved pets (including birds)
Into your shelter - they will consume
Fresh air. Leave the old and bed-
ridden, you can do nothing for them.
Remember to press the sealing
Switch when everyone is in
The shelter. Set the radiation
Aerial, turn on the geiger barometer.
Turn off your Television now.
Turn off your radio immediately
The Services end. At the same time
Secure explosion plugs in the ears
Of each member of your family. Take
Down your plasma flasks. Give your children
The pills marked one and two
In the C.D green container, then put
Them to bed. Do not break
The inside airlock seals until
The radiation All Clear shows
(Watch for the cuckoo in your
perspex panel), or your District
Touring Doctor rings your bell.
If before this, your air becomes
Exhousted or if any of your family
In critically injured, administer
The capsules marked 'Valley Forge'
(Red Pocket in No. 1 Survival Kit)
For painless death. (Catholics
Will have been instructed by their priests
What to do in this eventuality).
This announcement is ending. Our President
Has already given orders for
Massive retaliation - it will be
Decisive. Some of us may die.
Remember, statistically
It is not likely to be you.
All flags are flying fully dressed
On Government buildings - the sun is shining.
Death is the least we have to fear.
We are all in the hands of God,
Whatever happens happens by His Will.
Now go quickly to your shelters.

Peter Porter 1929-2010
I remember reading this first when at school. It was in an anthology of poetry. Its banality is still chilling but then just have a look at the Protect and Survive booklet and videos produced in 1979! 


Claude said...

Who would want to survive?

Anonymous said...


jams o donnell said...

As Kruschev said, the Living would envy the dead

It is still powerful although it is almost as old as I am!

Syncopated Eyeball said...

Yes, very powerful.

jams o donnell said...

I am glad you find it so Syncy

Steve Bates said...

jams, I am enough older than you to remember the bomb drills when I was in grade school. They usually began with the command "Drop!" from the teacher, concluding, "Crawl beneath your desk. Put your head between your legs." And some wag would always add, "... and kiss your a$$ goodbye!" All of us assumed we would be doing just that one day. If you've ever wondered about the cynicism of my generation of Americans, look to the bomb drills; it's hard to have much hope for the future when that is what you've been taught to expect. And I still can't discount the possibility, half a century later.

jams o donnell said...

Yegods, the good old duck and cover.. I am sure it may have extended somme lives away from ground zeros. Still it would not have worked for long! I would be as cynical too Steve!