Copyright 1994, S Hartwell

I was in the garden when the sirens,
Sounded their clarion call,
Deadheading the roses - Peace, Piccadilly,
When the shrill blasts warned us all
To get under cover, into the bunkers,
Into the comfortable gloom
Of three months’ supply of Heinz and Fray Bentos
Stacked in a whitewashed room.

I was in the garden, quiet and tranquil,
With bumblebees’ soothing drone,
When the clarion call of the warning hooter
Began its shattering moan.
Secateurs forgotten, rusting, useless,
The roses withered and dry,
We fled for safety, warned by the sirens
And prayed we would not die.

When we surfaced, pale and anemic
From three months underground,
We saw our gardens and the devastation
That lay all around,
Powdery snow frosted the flowers
In a nuclear winter, grey;
And the evergreens and hardy herbaceous
Wilt in the sickly light of day.

I was in the garden when the klaxons
Sounded the warning call,
I was under cover during the mushroom
Cloud that loomed over all.
Now in the garden, little is growing,
In the radioactive glow;
All my roses, all the foodcrops
Are under the nuclear snow.


You are visitor number: