Black Monday, October 1987


The bell rings to end the day of worship.

The cold green racing figures of the hard green failing god

dance, march, silently to oblivion.

The screen falls dark and quiet, betrayal ripens the air;

the priesthood catches its collective breath

for a moment stretching to eternity

refusing to accept the awful truth: all through the day

they have seen the goddess shatter their living faith

and crumble herself in the ashes.


The room explodes to start the day of judgment.

The passion of their loss has stilled all tongues,

while paper soars in surreal flights of fancy

transient and insubstantial

as the hopes and dreams and fears it represents.

Aloft it floats in silent homage to the god

whose praise is caught and held for one brief moment

suspended by the currents of the air.

The fluid motion, energy, ferment of the room

sustain its upward rise until,

without warning, all grows still.

The awesome updraft loses all momentum,

the paper cloud hangs frozen in perfect equilibrium,

for one eternal nanosecond all is still

as faith awaits a verdict, and its fate.


Shouts arise to replace faith with business.

The human life that energized those hopes

wavers for a moment, falters,

then suspends its collective trust.

Fluttering, the orders start to slide

and in a dizzying mindless wild crash

fall in a blizzard through the unbelieving room.

Seen for the token, idol, that it is

papyrus god falls lifeless to the earth,

gathered to her fathers in a great white drift,

the lover, mistress, goddess of the world we crave

fallen into disrepute.

And we into despair.

 © Philip Knight 2018