Last night I watched an old movie called Fail Safe. It was set in the 1960’s. It was in black and white. There were only a few female characters and no one who wasn’t white. The special effects were laughable. But despite its dated nature, it was terrifying. The plot of the film was that a squadron of US bombers carrying nuclear weapons lose contact with Strategic Air Command and as a result attack the Soviet Union.
Three things made it frightening. One, the film makers understood the tremendous strain making decisions in that environment would have on ordinary human beings. For some characters, it was too much. Americans and Russians collapsed or went mad. Second, despite the rudimentary technology it was constantly referred to as ‘too advanced’ and ‘moving faster than humans can think’. And that was fifty years ago. Third, the overall sense of dread, that civilization could end, was so palpable. Perhaps it is my age showing but for those of us that do remember it was like recalling a vivid, horrible nightmare. The feel of it your mind is like an echo of the pain and terror. We lived through that every day for decades.
Our culture has its own doomsday fears. Climate change, terrorism, epidemics, hell even zombies. It seems our obsession with the theme is more complete than when we were thirty minutes from Armageddon every single day. The world is not a perfect place, but we can be thankful that we no longer stand on the edge of that precipice staring down into oblivion. It might even make us as hopeful as we feel waking up to the sun and realizing it was all a dream.
Here are some Haiku poems I wrote this week. If you are going to start writing poetry, disciplined forms are the way to begin. From my perspective anyway.
Red, blue, violet.
Light giving life eternal.
Life from silver mist.
Turning into green and black.
Rain falls without us.
Cremation on sale.
Deal we can’t afford to miss.
Dead cheap in a can.