The Coal Picker
By Amy Lowell
He perches in the slime, inert,
Bedaubed with iridescent dirt.
The oil upon the puddles dries
To colours like a peacock’s eyes,
And half-submerged tomato-cans
Shine scaly, as leviathans
Oozily crawling through the mud.
The ground is here and there bestud
With lumps of only part-burned coal.
His duty is to glean the whole,
To pick them from the filth, each one,
To hoard them for the hidden sun
Which glows within each fiery core
And waits to be made free once more.
Their sharp and glistening edges cut
His stiffened fingers. Through the smut
Gleam red the wounds which will not shut.
Wet through and shivering he kneels
And digs the slippery coals; like eels
They slide about. His force all spent,
He counts his small accomplishment.
A half-a-dozen clinker-coals
Which still have fire in their souls.
Fire! And in his thought there burns
The topaz fire of votive urns.
He sees it fling from hill to hill,
And still consumed, is burning still.
Higher and higher leaps the flame,
The smoke an ever-shifting frame.
He sees a Spanish Castle old,
With silver steps and paths of gold.
From myrtle bowers comes the plash
Of fountains, and the emerald flash
Of parrots in the orange trees,
Whose blossoms pasture humming bees.
He knows he feeds the urns whose smoke
Bears visions, that his master-stroke
Is out of dirt and misery
To light the fire of poesy.
He sees the glory, yet he knows
That others cannot see his shows.
To them his smoke is sightless, black,
His votive vessels but a pack
Of old discarded shards, his fire
A peddler’s; still to him the pyre
Is incensed, an enduring goal!
He sighs and grubs another coal.
I spent a part of Tuesday morning organizing the Tarot decks that were bursting out of the bookcase where I keep Tarot decks. Then I got a message from MoCoPoGo on GroupMe about an Articuno raid at the Twinbrook Metro station, and since I was about to go right near there anyway to get bagels at Bagel City's 14-for-12 Tuesday deal, I met up with a lot of the same people I'd gone on a raid with at Cabin John Park the day before. We won and I caught the Articuno, then we went to another raid at the Rollins post office and I caught the Articuno there too! I am really not sorry I missed all the Sunday craziness while I was out of town.
My afternoon involved getting done all the things I missed doing during the lunchtime gaming. Then Paul came home and we were about to go to Not Your Average Joe's for the lobster rolls he missed out on last time -- Adam was out with Emiliano, one of his oldest friends, who moved back to Venezuela while they were in elementary school and they stayed in touch -- but once again they weren't sure they had them! So instead we went shopping at Giant, had deli for dinner, watched the Orioles fail to come back against the Rays, and caught up on Still Star-Crossed since it ends forever this week. Flowers and animals at the New York Botanical Garden: