Industrial Gothic

What we motored past to arrive
at this meadow, this light, this dew
cooling our feet before steaming
into oblivion in the June sun —

what we saw at dusk, smutting
the sky: the rust-glutted ironworks,
tanks and stacks and scuttles, cathedral
of fetor and soot, self-blessed
by waste: a bilious stew
oozing from boilers into grated drains
(whose ghost stokes the flames?) —
factory smelting beauty
to a rancid slag, the stench of which
we can’t burn from our brains,

we who imagined the place to begin with,
we who adore it and are desolate.

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