A few months ago, the writer Tim Rich drew my attention to If Crisis or War Comes, a publication issued by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency.

Destined to become a classic of public information warnings, and clear writing generally, it provides essential information to the Swedish population as to what it should do to be prepared “if your everyday life was turned upside down.” The aim of the guide, its introduction states, is to help people become better prepared for everything, including serious accidents, extreme weather, IT attacks and military conflicts.

Tim mentioned that a note of terror could be discerned through the tone of the writing in the booklet, and that made me wonder whether there was a poem lurking under the useful information. Turns out there was — a series of them in fact, which I’ve found by erasing the majority of the text.

You can read my version of If Crisis or War Comes here. A sample poem is below.

look false

misleading how we act
the aim to reduce our
willingness to defend
ourselves

my appraise opinion?
aim this information?
put out?
trust somewhere?

why is it out there
this moment?

do your homework
do not believe in rumours
do not pass

Hunger, Fire, Harrumph.

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