Monday, November 28, 2011

Bunker Mentality

It came to me in the queue,
Outside the school canteen,
The day the skies turned black
And we knew the Russians would attack.

That afternoon,
During Double Maths,
I made my plans,
Complete with detailed diagrams
And comprehensive lists.

Next morning,
I watched my mother disappear
Round the corner onto Richmond Road
Then started my work.

Supplies from the kitchen/diner -
Into sturdy cardboard box went:
1 bottle Tizer,
½ a loaf of white, sliced bread,
1 tub Stork Margarine,
1 tin Nestles Condensed Milk,
1 tin Tate & Lyle Golden Syrup,
1 can Heinz Baked Beans,
½ a chocolate Swiss Roll,
1 can opener,
1 set cutlery,
1 plate,
1 ½ pint glass.

Two armchairs face to face
At the end of the bed.
Supplies box slides under one.
Library box ( stock of Wizards,
Captain W.E Johns, New Testament,
Revised Standard Version ) under other.
Bed stripped. Mattress arched between
Layer two -
Eiderdown spread over the top,
Layer three -
Candlewick bedspread,
Gaps sealed with pillows,
Wireless and torches placed inside,
Lastly the big tin box
After which I crawl,
Sealing up the entrance behind.

Wireless on in time
To catch the latest bulletin,
No news.

Time to review forces.
Out of the tin emerge,
1 Centurion tank,
1 armoured car,
1 ten ton truck,
1 captured Tiger,
2 twenty-five pounder field guns,
Followed by the troops,
In precise rows,
Followed by motley POWS,
After all, no could blame the Germans
For this one.
Stand easy men - no new developments.

Time for paperwork.
I wonder what the Great Wilson
Would make of my cosy cave?
Would he be ready for a doze
So soon? Better set all the alarms.
Before I snuggle down.

Westclox danced around
To sound the all clear.
All present and correct.
All still here.

Back to work,
Timed out at 31 minutes,
After which everything
Is in it’s place,
Well before my Mother’s
‘Have you had a nice day dear?’

V. Good. No chance of being spotted from the air.
What chance have the Russians got of finding this
When my own Mother doesn’t know it was there?
And in retrospect, ecologically speaking,
Well ahead of my time, for even after
The first strike, you could return in thirty years
And find no urine drenched cellars, no
Flaking graffiti covered walls, no
Twisted, tangled rusting metal.
No, not a single trace of my defences
Could have been found anywhere!


  1. Alan Perry2:29 PM

    Nice one,Rej! I particularly like the personalized humour you've brought into it, based on your own childhood memories. (I was in Art College at the time of the Cuba Crisis and remember that we were all sh*t*ng ourselves as the American ultimatum had nearly run out. We were in a life class when we heard a loudspeaker down on the street. We all ran out in a panic but it was just someone in a van canvassing for a local election!). Cheers for now, Alan.

  2. This is such a good collection of words and memories and your childhood reaction,the threat from afar which felt so real and very frightening. Like this one.