the miner reflects on his mountain deep

Poem #167 from a series of poems drawn from the imagination and collected as: a Bachelard reverie.

Back to Bachelard and me – Introduction


it’s a long way
down

when you know
that there’s a half
a mile
of dirt
and rock
above you

and the space you’ve carved
for yourself to move
is only two men
wide

you have to
shore
your tunnels

keep the pump
primed
and pushing out water

and keep the light
on your helmet
alive

I
went down there

pick-axe
in my hand
and no concern
for risk
or for danger

breathing black
shitty dust
in the eternity
of black
shitty night
where I could not see
my hand

there

right before my eyes
and my ears filled up
with god

god
choosing that deep time
to start talking

but I plinked
and I plunked with my pick
and did my best
to keep his voice
outside
of my head

because I needed clear mind
for the work

it is a soul
down there

some kind of spirit

I’d sit down
on a break
no light

no sound at all
but my breathing
and I could see
I swear
six different kinds
of blackness

the working
of a heart
is a loud call too

its sound
is a determined beat
and it would fill all the tunnels
right up
with me

like a claim I’d staked
but
I didn’t really
belong there

I didn’t own
any part of that creature
I only
stole

I stole all the ore
that ever gleamed
or glittered
in my light

and
thief that I was
I don’t think the mountain
squatting up there above me
ever even knew
that I was alive

I stole the ore out

I was a miner
and a thief
but
half a mile down
somehow
I learned
to pray


© Frank Prem 2018

Bachelard and me Poem #168: oneiric elements #3

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when the watch stopped

when he noticed
that his watch –
worn most days
on his left wrist –
had stopped

he half-assumed
that someone he knew
must have died

all through the morning
while attending
absent-mindedly
to his work
his regular routines
and labours
he realized
he was waiting

for a change
in the feel
of the wind

the cry of a bird

for his heart
to beat aloud
from the stress
of him holding on
to his breath

while he waited
for news

for confirmation

eventually
he adjusted the hands
of the watch
to correct the time
they were showing

and the day
proceeded
without incident

~