The Tipple (Ars Poetica)

Title

The Tipple (Ars Poetica)

Subject

Coal Mining Exhibit

Description

Horrell photo, Bond poem, Martell background

Creator

David Bond, Beth Martell, Doc Horrell

Source

The Light That Shatters Darkness Exhibit

Publisher

Special Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Contributor

Special Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Rights

Use Restrictions: To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the World Wide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult Special Collections Research Center to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.

Format

Text, JPG photograph

Language

English

Type

Poetry, photography

Identifier

Exhibit Window #8

Text

The Tipple (Ars Poetica)

It’s nine degrees and too quiet.
Smoke from a power plant six miles off

hangs like a purple wound,
jagged chase in the soft skin of sky

and it seems the cold has smothered too,
any audible sounds of labor.

Far down the tracks a Mo-Pac engine
throbs in dieseled cadence.

Above on the load-out platform
workers bunch along yellow-painted railing.

I climb the steel treads,
kick through piles of powdery coal dust,

across checkerplated flooring
where rusted boxcars pass below,

hoppers poised to belch dark cataracts,
the shards glistening, gathering as

the burden of mind, culled and channeled
to the headchute’s Blackwall hitch.

Steam rises from metal thermoses.
Men talk among themselves,

their breath like spirit deserting flesh.
I join them at the railing,

look down to see a dead man
at the bottom of car number fifty-three,

chest-high snow like a blanket,
a stubborn barnacle the paramedics

later break loose with a washdown hose.
“Second one this year,” the superintendent says,

dribbling tobacco juice into a styrofoam cup.
“Now get your asses back to work.”

Original Format

Photograph of a coal mine preparation plant (tipple), background smoke

Files

The Light That Shatters Darkness #3a.jpg
The Light That Shatters Darkness #3b.jpg

Citation

David Bond, Beth Martell, Doc Horrell, “The Tipple (Ars Poetica),” SCRC Virtual Museum at Southern Illinois University's Morris Library, accessed December 3, 2022, https://scrcexhibits.omeka.net/items/show/48.

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