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Cuban Missile Crisis, November 1962


RAF Gatow, West Berlin

Don Bruce played guitar and sang a risqué song:
and all around Corporals mess the drinking carried on.
Outside in the darkness, just beyond the wire,
tanks were lined up, manned and ready to fire.

In the streets of Berlin you could almost cut the air
and all along the Wall folk just stood and stared.
The Eternal Flame still burned for the people of the town
were  pledged not to dowse it until the Wall came down.

And they'd been spreading rumours
that we and the French and the Yanks
were handing over the city
to the comrades in their tanks

On a far off ocean two fleets drew ever closer.
It was like a poker game waiting for a loser.
Nobody knew in lives the value of each chip
or how many hung on the meeting of those ships

Potentially the worst crisis the world to date had seen.
Kennedy and Khruschev with Cuba in between.
The world turned uneasily as the two K's played their game:
what ever happened we all knew it would never be the same.

Through the mess windows came the barking sounds
of cannons on their tanks firing practice rounds
to accompany Don Bruce as he finished his last song
and until the bar was shuttered the drinking carried on.

I wasn't there when it ended.
I'd flown out the day before.
The Americans struck us a medal
For having nearly gone to war.








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