Friday, December 01, 2006

An Explanation

An Explanation

[A note from Dr. Thursday: This poem appears by special permission from the Editor-in-Chief of Something Good To Read.]

On the other side of the hill near where I live
They're dumping tons and tons of coal into a sieve,
And there it is divided, like the Master's flocks,
Saved is all the chosen coal, reject all the rocks.

In a massive grinder, the coal with fearsome whine
Is broken down into a dust so super-fine
That it flows like water: ah, this wondrous black blood
Enlivens our city with hidden pulsing flood.

Those tons and tons of coal dust now are mixed with air
Forced through pipes towards a mighty furnace, where
The coal, like fluid, from four fountains gushes out:
There, all boxed in, a cyclone-fire spins about.

Within that blazing chimney and through every wall
Is sent a river, heated by that fireball
And changed to supersteam; no warmth escapes the plan
Which by water makes the fire revolve a fan.

This fan is large and strong, so smooth and free to spin
But it turns more than itself when the steam comes in.
Upon that spinning shaft wire has been braided
As if coppersmiths by hairdressers were aided.

Unseen, but all around this spinning copper braid
Is set a wall of force - a wall by magnets made.
When a copper braid spins in a magnetic place,
Unseen things (of amber named) are compelled to race.

The copper braid full of electrons in motion,
Gliding past brushes which grasp it with devotion,
Sixty times in a second each passes on charge,
To transform that power, it must both wane and enlarge.

Copper strands cross the mountains, dive under the street
And enter into my room where I decide to complete
The path from the coal, the furnace, the stream,
Immersed in magnets, compelled by the steam,
The copper braid spinning, sixty Hertz is the scheme,
Enacted and planned by a vast human team;
Electrons in motion, back and forth they must scream:
The switch is on; how does my lamp beam.

(March 4, 1998)


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