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.