Mar 29, 2009


So this is the summit of a man’s career –
Two hardboard walls, constructed shabbily.
A naked bulb and rotting wooden floor;
No windows but instead a door
Half hidden by a broken metal screen
From which a tattered piece of green
Curtain blows.

The room has neither sky or sun nor tree
Nor any kind of personality.
It is four walls two of them hardboard (bare);
A written table (large) covered with baize
Stacked high with files. A rickety chair:
Two china cups tea-stained with cracking glaze;
Above, a rusty fan layered with dust.
In fact there is dust everywhere.

A room along the corridors of power –
What years of study, study, planning, sweat, chicanery
Two win this foothold. Yet once there
Only a roughly scribbled name
Upon a crumpled piece of cardboard to proclaim
Who has the right to sit on just that chair
A hardboard wall constructed shabbily.

(Anne Ranasinghe)

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