TangleFlow, photo and all text ©Irene O’Garden, 2014
Such a silent place: the green and ghostly remains of Nuttalburg, West Virginia.
John and I were recently its sole explorers, whence this image. The visual poetry of the outworn often speaks to me.
This tangle was part of a tipple, which conveyed coal to boxcars to market. Eager to control all aspects of his production, Henry Ford owned this mine awhile, and made this system. He found minds creative enough to imagine these objects, bodies strong enough to build and place them. And always, bellies hungry for work.
Hear the phantom pandemonium: coal thundering into the cars, trains clattering over the tracks, ear-splitting squeals of wheels and pulleys and whistles. Nearby, dinnerbells and shouting schoolchildren. A vibrant place it was, propelled and prolonged by sheer might.
It’s fitting to remember in a week of international climate discussions, this was a system that seemed unbreakable, untwistable, invincible.
When at last dismantled, it must have roared to the ground like a Beethoven coda.
As these frayed muscles of industry show, even in tangle there is flow; in decay, abraded splendor. Though Beethoven shows no sign of wear.
I’ll be channeling Mother Nature this Saturday, September 27, at the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival, and being my own self with delightful young poets on Sunday 4-6 at the opening of this year’s second Poetry Trail at the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum. You would be a welcome sight at either place.