Songs of Coal

Sparks and the blunting of your blade.
Moss is collected, bark stripped
off the silverest of birches.

Call me peat. I give you the flame,
small and fuelled. You smell it
as it burns even this earth.

*

Remember that first giving:
its warmth carried in your hands,
strapped to your back, a rough cart.

You tunnel now; strip carbon black
from brown. Call me anthracite.
Ready me here for excavation.

Control your explosions – a network,
diamonding the seam in which I am.
Remember the giving.

And you, you find a safe place.
Detonate. A spark, explosion. Rock
splinters and falls. Set me aside.

from Earthworks (Stonewood Press)

 

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