Sign up with your email address to be the first to know about new products, VIP offers, blog features & more.


One early afternoon at the nadir

or the zenith of the so-called Cuban

Missile Crisis – a good or, rather, bad

two years before ‘Dr. Strangelove’ and ‘Fail-Safe’

were screened – I was waiting in the drear

and white-tiled catacombs of Liverpool’s

Central Station – where it always seemed

as if it were night and the blitz still on

and water appeared to drip continuously –

for the next train, under the Mersey,

to Chester, when I heard somewhere beyond me,

somewhere unidentifiable, a loud,

continuing roar like boulders crumbling

or, more likely, city blocks tumbling

onto the streets above and I feared

that either or both the shoe-thumping

Premier and the tanned President

had advanced Armageddon. I believed,

then, rhetoric and realpolitik

were one so the momentary fear was



The Soviet Empire has been demolished,

the American reduced, not least

its consumption of Havana Cigars,

but Cuba welcomes all tourists, though those

with only U.S. dollars to exchange

are surcharged.





© Copyright David Selzer
4 Responses
  • John Huddart
    November 12, 2012

    Now here is genius at work – or rather magic! To range from such precise recollection of a distant time [still acutely observed as if today] and to place it so adroitly next to a reference to modern Cuba, is almost beyond mere praise!

    I need hardly add, that this is a poem of the year, as far as I am concerned.

  • Alex Cox
    November 22, 2012

    I remember, very distantly, some huge victorian apartment blocks (is that what they were?) opposite Lime Street Station, where the ‘new’ St Johns Market now stands.

    Was it the demolition of those massive buildings that you heard, in Central Station?

  • David Selzer
    November 24, 2012

    They were certainly Victorian, Alex, but I can’t remember their function. What I heard was the collapse of the edifices that line/lined Bold Street, Church Street, Lord Street, Dale Street…

  • Catherine Reynolds
    September 4, 2017

    Visceral. It takes me back to my CND protest march days against cruise missiles. Lest we forget!

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *