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Power Cut

by Pamela J Robinson

A flicker -
then another -
then mid-afternoon darkness.

Monkeys in a cage,
yet capering
for the sightseers next door.
A general movement
towards the window,
excited whispering,
at the interesting spectacle
of the beehive
(usually hibernating)
in darkness.

reverberating 'tween the opposing walls
of the hub of commerce,
the Banks
in Lombard Street.
'But mah deah!'
Clanging and tinkling
as quickly come as gone
in a screech of brakes.
An emergency?
Meanwhile, crisis.
The atmosphere of school on a foggy afternoon,
tremulous excitement,
'Will the let us go home early?'
And grown men exult in childish delight -
'Wonder who got stuck in the lift?'
'Bet he hit the cable with his drill.'
'Must look a mess.'
All jolly good British fun, old chaps.

Here come the candles
for those in the shadows,
defeating the hopes of a slap happy bachelor.
The buzz continues,
the buzz of speculation.
Why? How? Where?
For how long?
Oh why can't we all go home?
Let's go to tea,
they make that by gas.
Don't they?
Machines are unplugged
and their handles found.
Penpushers try their hand at heavier labour.
Pens scrabble frantically,
trying to race
with the fast dying sun.
Telex girl scuttles
like rat from a wreck
to house of a brother,
our trustworthy branch,
carrying messages,
non urgents, urgents,
steadfastly clasped in a city grimed paw,
asks of them favours,
and sends off her messages,
back to the chaos of twilighted Hell.

Then pop,
or what,
in long past Chem lessons,
we used to call
a minor explosion
and suddenly -
there was light.
All back to normal,
mumbling their moans,
a sense of deflation,
a toffee apple taken away.
The momentum decreases
back to the usual crawl of democracy.

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