Studies in Aluminum IV

This is part of a series I’m working on that looks at the history of aluminum, from its discovery as a metal to its mass production. The poems are connected loosely by their shared themes, but don’t have to be read in any order.

This poem is in imitation of the Shijing, or Classics of Poetry, a collection of Chinese poetry from the 11th to the 7th centuries BC. It’s divided up into sections based on elements of Confucianism. It’s subject is a large aluminum company in China, Shandong Weiqiao Aluminum & Power.

 

Aluminum and Power

 

(Tiān)

 

The industrial park of Shandong Weiqiao

holds up the heavens with columns of concrete.

White clouds unspool from its slender chimneys

like silk upon the spinning wheel of Earth.

 

The industrial park of Shandong Weiqiao

holds up the heavens with columns of concrete.

There are no frogs to be found hopping

in the muddy lake of red tailing.

 

The industrial park of Shandong Weiqiao

is south of Huang He. From the yellow earth

springs green wheat and maize, blue sorghum

and pearl millet, and gray aluminum.

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