Poets | Bookstore | Poem of the Day | Top 40 | Search | Comments | Privacy
July 29th, 2014 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 115,441 comments.
Amy Lowell - The Coal Picker

He perches in the slime, inert,
Bedaubed with iridescent dirt.
The oil upon the puddles dries
To colours like a peacock's eyes,
And half-submerged tomato-cans
Shine scaly, as leviathans
Oozily crawling through the mud.
The ground is here and there bestud
With lumps of only part-burned coal.
His duty is to glean the whole,
To pick them from the filth, each one,
To hoard them for the hidden sun
Which glows within each fiery core
And waits to be made free once more.
Their sharp and glistening edges cut
His stiffened fingers.  Through the smut
Gleam red the wounds which will not shut.
Wet through and shivering he kneels
And digs the slippery coals; like eels
They slide about.  His force all spent,
He counts his small accomplishment.
A half-a-dozen clinker-coals
Which still have fire in their souls.
Fire!  And in his thought there burns
The topaz fire of votive urns.
He sees it fling from hill to hill,
And still consumed, is burning still.
Higher and higher leaps the flame,
The smoke an ever-shifting frame.
He sees a Spanish Castle old,
With silver steps and paths of gold.
From myrtle bowers comes the plash
Of fountains, and the emerald flash
Of parrots in the orange trees,
Whose blossoms pasture humming bees.
He knows he feeds the urns whose smoke
Bears visions, that his master-stroke
Is out of dirt and misery
To light the fire of poesy.
He sees the glory, yet he knows
That others cannot see his shows.
To them his smoke is sightless, black,
His votive vessels but a pack
Of old discarded shards, his fire
A peddler's; still to him the pyre
Is incensed, an enduring goal!
He sighs and grubs another coal.

Share |

Added: Feb 1 2004 | Viewed: 4094 times | Comments and analysis of The Coal Picker by Amy Lowell Comments (73)

The Coal Picker - Comments and Information

Poet: Amy Lowell
Poem: 7. The Coal Picker
Volume: Sword Blades & Poppy Seed
- Sword Blades
Poem of the Day: Sep 23 2009

Comment 73 of 73, added on July 29th, 2014 at 6:42 AM.
SNdpxkZCVukNe

Fantastic blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

New York Collages Ranking from Panama
Comment 72 of 73, added on July 28th, 2014 at 6:02 PM.
dIuephHKtHEIqHwXBDL

Thanks for the blog.Really thank you! Cool.

kitchen from Paraguay
Comment 71 of 73, added on July 28th, 2014 at 4:48 PM.
kBazxiSKvhzQ

I cannot thank you enough for the article.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

repair aluminum from Honduras

Are you looking for more information on this poem? Perhaps you are trying to analyze it? The poem, The Coal Picker, has received 73 comments. Click here to read them, and perhaps post a comment of your own.

Poem Info

Lowell Info
Copyright © 2000-2012 Gunnar Bengtsson. All Rights Reserved. Links | Bookstore