Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Elector and Engineer

A kindly pink face peers down at the bookish historians,
Handling mysterious metal pieces and glowing wood.
They give him an occasional glance, a flirtatious smile,
Comments made quietly as wunderkammer shimmers,
A nod to Papi, an acknowledgment of mastery.

A Saxon prince argues with his smouldering engineer.
Roles reversed as he belabours the capstan;
Pincers attack and pull at the gleaming wires,
'Nein, ziehen, sanft ziehen', croons the gentleman.
As in fairy tales, so magically the gold is woven.

The gruff engineer deftly adjusts the die, just so
And carefully wipes the hot wax from the cold steel
His hands see the bench, but his noble unskilled
Apprentice clumsily works, looking, checking, sweating.
An orderly world overturned by a mechanical universe.

An efficiency of tools and the process changes;
Sheets of fresh traded wood from the east, fragrant lie
To be tortured gently to make furniture pieces.
The engineer stands to the side and the Elector presses;
People, nobles, Emperors, timber bending to his will.

These Promethean princes each praying for knowledge;
Reforming Kingdoms under a new God of reading,
Remanufacturing their states and forcing their will with
Steely determination and ballistic intelligence.
Stamping paternal authority over the natural unnatural land.

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