Wood burns, wood grows, wood floats, wood flies.

But coal, older not wiser, does more.

Wood’s grandfather, black-shiny, tougher,

A class act in old ties and tails, smooth

Designer bastard of cool, a brother to

Jet and a cousin of Diamond rich chic,

If you squeeze him tight, right, knuckled.

The second best friend of Marilyn M, hardest,

Creates lodges and peoples and brass bands,

And brings down governments, eventually.

Builds towns of grey-flecked stone, wet.

Creates memories, riots, and police horses.

Sells soap by the bucket and tin baths.

Makes lands of deep holes like Swiss cheese.

Kills families, but keeps them warm

While waiting in church halls for news.

Turns lungs to slop, and good breath

Into choirs that sound like thick necked angels.

Crushes wood for millennia to create itself,

And holds itself up with wooden props—

So eats its children by God! Coal reminds us of graft,

And places not to be, on our knees in water.

It smiles and laughs at dart matches over a pint

In a club like a shed at the bottom of a lane,

Loud and Bingo-knighted.

It takes parts of the world and connects

Us into history—Wales, North, Scots’ Land,

Germinal and boiler rooms ’cross raging seas

With Hairy Apes and shovels, and posh ladies

Smoking, and Russian dirty snow.

It lights us all and clogs the world dying,

To return us all one day to carboniferous

Forests of oblivion. It is our life giver,

And destroyer. King coal, a merry old soil, coughs

Our lungs out, about the town. Wood is a wimp—

Wood only burns and grows and floats and flies.

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