All Night Sitting

T.J. Clark

There was a moment in the senate
When the orator and the administrator
Stood a few inches apart, their cheeks puffed
From the previous power point scoring,
Suddenly grey and tired. This was because
The shadow of hopelessness (the debate had been about
Aid percentages, rules for slaughter and United Fruit)
Had slipped into the room, as it often did at this time,
And stood between them panting.

Then the orator saw an opening
And the administrator a flaw in subsection three.
The shadow could feel itself becoming a syllable again
Or was it a piece of armour salvaged from a dump?
Blood flushed back into the august body’s faces.
There was a stirring, as of adulterers at siesta time.
Prayer breakfasts were waiting.
The full complexity of the issues – My honourable friend –