Darren L. Slider

The Living Nightmare

Darren’s Writings


The Living Nightmare

© 1985

A light
an overpowering white light
as if exposed
to the glory of God
all hell breaks loose

Everything explodes
the fair earth
becomes a living hell
the stones cry out
a mass cremation
without mourners
a bumper crop of mushrooms
springs into being
while life itself
and death itself
ashes, ashes
all fall down

the fires of hell
devour themselves
and limbo sets in
the last note dies away
no applause

We awaken
that at any time
the nightmare may return
and we won't be dreaming

Do we really believe
that we stockpile nuclear weapons
to prevent their use?
That we threaten
to eradicate ourselves
to prevent
from eradicating ourselves?
There must be
a better way!

Author's Note: This poem, written in March of 1985, was inspired by Jonathan Schell's book The Fate of the Earth, a polemic for nuclear disarmament opposed to the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). I have since learned to appreciate the irony of the doctrine: human nature being what it is, in the context of the Cold War, MAD actually worked.