There is one front and one battle where everyone in the United States—every man, woman, and child—is in action and will be privileged to remain in action throughout this war. That front is right here at home, in our daily lives and in our daily tasks. Here at home everyone will have the privilege of making whatever self-denial is necessary, not only to supply our fighting men, but to keep the economic structure of our country fortified and secure during the war and after the war.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s radio broadcast to the nation, April 28, 1942

Friday, June 10, 2011

Air Raid!




At the sound of the first siren,
Daddy leaves the house
to take his post as
Civil Defense block captain.
The rest of us run around
putting up black-out curtains
(sneaking a peek outside) and
turning off unnecessary lights
(a bathroom light is a necessity).


At the second siren,
we move the kitchen table
away from the window
(but within reach of the cookie jar).
Before the siren stops,
Mom, Josephine, and I
crawl under the table.
Mom starts to pray.
Josie and I pretend to pray,
but really, we play a game
of stealth-kicking until


All clear!

We climb out from under,
take down the black-out curtains,
turn on the lights,
move the kitchen table back
to its place by the window.
By the time Daddy
walks in the door,
dinner is on the table
but we’re too full of cookies
to eat.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photos courtesy Library of Congress: home scene, air raid warden. Poster courtesy National Archives.


I'm Jet . . . said...

Makes an air raid seem fun (almost). I love the dichotomy between the adult view and the kid view.

Mary Lee said...

What a fascinating collection of poems, Diane! I can't wait to read on "through the years"!!

Barbara said...

It reminds me of the Cuban missile crisis and the advice to hide under a desk in case of nuclear attack. How could we have ever been so naive?

Carol said...

I love poetry, but i also love history. Can't believe a publisher wouldn't just jump on this!

Diane Mayr said...

Thanks everyone! Barb, the Cuban missile crisis involved nuclear attack. In early WW II, it was still possible that a table could offer some protection from flying debris.