Black Orchid

Anson Clark


During that final Indian summer of Keynesian Economics
The men with handlebar moustaches played cricket
Whilst I dived too deep searching for coins.

The Black Orchid swoons, beautiful but fragile.
The shell-shocked man loved it so much. Too much.
They thought they were kings, but on the continent
Blood was boiling in some Byzantine pot.

Zarathustra was white in those days.

And as the tribes chanted their slogans and Lenin
Slipped Free to Choose into a brown paper bag,
The huddled mass in Canton begged for bread and soup
(Wine was bread and soup for those who danced
The Charleston.)

A new decade promises so much. Who were the grocer’s
Daughter and tanned thin Father Christmas? The Commies
Had grey queues and sober reflection – we had ET.

In 1982 during the Falklands War, the harlequin
Slowly lumbers down the ornate staircase; the bacchic revellers,
Unaware, danced below. People always dance just before
The end of the party: the empire writes back.

The harlequin removed his mask; it was Septimus from the future.
Dreams hung like dead senators, those Corinthian columns
Shaking down like Blakean webs.

And yet they played cricket through it all.


Anson Clark lives in England and a few years ago studied Creative Writing at Oxford University. He’s a big fan of anything Americana and as often as possible tries to eat stacks of pancakes at his favorite US style diner in Manchester.