An Eighteenth Century Beam Engine
An Eighteenth century beam engine,
simple, with central power,
a church of steam.
An engineer approached,
sharp movement of spiking light,
a natural power directed, dangerous,
water torn with untiring ferocity.
Its true purpose, he said, is to
pump the mine dry.
An artist approaches,
wild yet predicted movement,
bitter, nasal charcoal,
a noise like Hades imagined,
steam jetting from each and every joint.
Its true purpose, she says, is to
overwhelm the senses.
A shaded man approaches
he counts his beans to three,
and thinks of four,
he imagines rows of black and time,
a regiment of flies.
Its true purpose, he says,
is thirty three percent.