Jeanette Winterson once wrote
that oranges were not the only fruit.
But what if they were the only fruit?
What a boring world that would be.
‘What’s for dessert, dear?’
‘Something with them?’
‘Just more oranges.’
No fruit would rhyme with anything
for there would only be oranges,
and oranges only rhyme with oranges.
There would not even be lemons,
or songs about lemons.
Oranges and oranges say the bells of St Clement’s.
Not the same, huh?
As the advert goes, the future’s orange.
Not blackberry or gooseberry or passion fruit or pomegranate
or red or purple or lime green.
And imagine if this monoculture spread
to other genera?
I’ve heard that 95% of species
are dying out —
the fish, the flowers, the trees,
the larger mammals —
so, could it be possible one day
that just one type of each remains? —
the armoured catfish representing fish,
the dark-red helleborine the flowers,
the scrubby juniper the trees,
one single struggling mammal —
perhaps the meerkat (cute)
or jackal (not so cute)?
But, dear God, help us all
if the last vestiges of human beings
are estate agents or politicians.
I'd rather forget the orange future
and cling on to the rainbow present,
celebrating cooks and circus clowns,
postmen, poets, pop stars, pharmacists,
town criers and chimney sweeps,
traffic wardens, archivists, accountants —
while they last.