Tag Archives | Susan Ioannou – Poems About Mining and the Earth

Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth – by Susan Ioannou

Poet - Susan IoannouTwo Excerpts from Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth. If you would like to order Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry, go to Your Scrivener Press

AQUAMARINE

To mollify sea deities,
ancient lapidaries prescribed
blue amulets carved from aquamarine
whose inner lapping soothed
and as seasoned sailors believed
wore away the dark coast of worry.

Others cast their woes inside the gem,
then soaked it in a little bowl
beneath the waning moon.
Perhaps within a day or two
where crystals cooled and brittled
a six-rayed star would fan and twinkle
love light toward a long marriage,
restore youth, hope, and friends,
or calm a throbbing tooth.

Today Brazilian pegmatites
host the clearest and the bluest,
named (her birthstone) Santa Marias.
A famous one, unearthed in 1910,
was heftier than a bongo drum:
110.5 kilograms
—an amulet with cleansing tears enough
for a thousand sailors
not to drown.

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Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth – by Susan Ioannou

Poet Susan IoannouExcerpt from Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth. If you would like to order Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry, go to Your Scrivener Press

METAMORPHIC

The Earth is never still.
Even as it crumbles
it is building,
great plates pushing
sediments up from the oceans
or sliding them under the continents.

There massive heat and stress
flatten minerals into bands
or leaf them into layers
or squeeze their particles so tight
atomic patterns rearrange
and recrystallize
limestone roughness into marble, 
sandstone into quartzite,
shale to slate.

Deepest and hottest,
diamonds are hardened.
Higher, beryls and topaz cool.
Like sulphur,
without any air some form
as minerals and bacteria mingle
or, with oxygen, are reborn
like a brassy chalcopyrite
deepened to azurite blue.

Even the oldest,
like a foliated gneiss,
after remelting into magma,
hiss back up volcanic vents
and overflow as mountains
—repeating Earth’s cycle.

Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth – by Susan Ioannou

Poet Susan IoannouExcerpt from Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth. If you would like to order Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry, go to Your Scrivener Press

IGNEOUS ROCK

Five kilometres under the ocean floor
deep in the upper mantle,
red, writhing magma
pushes high through denser rock
and over many thousands of years
cools into feldspar, mica, and quartz.

Or through neighbouring strata
fluids flood scalding chemistries
that over millennia mingle and harden
into more flickering minerals—
chloride, fluoride, sulphur,
silver and gold—

until, in an earthly cycle of desire,
magma rushes upward—again
to be transformed,
for no matter how solid, how old,
igneous means to set on fire,
to burn.

Looking Through Stone: Poems about the Earth – by Susan Ioannou

Poet Susan IoannouExcerpt from Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth. If you would like to order Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry, go to Your Scrivener Press

WORKING THE MINES:ENGINEERS

How far mining has come,
from a Stone Age cobblestoned stick
to the drill rig’s 40-kilogram tricone bit,
its bullet-shaped tungsten carbide teeth
ripping straight down through rock
100 rotations per minute;
how far, from bonfires lit overnight
to explosives remotely controlled
blasting whole walls of ore,
too massive for piling into slave’s baskets
but not for a 10-tonne Load-Haul-Dump
12-metre-long steel mucker.

Gold is explored no longer solely
by a lone man scouring a stream
and tilting a simple pan,
nor more subtly by Geiger counter
or a bush plane low overhead
swinging a magnetometer aft.

Even farther above,*
a satellite now probes Earth,
imaging hectares of lonely terrain
and beeping data to a computer
to e-mail prospectors on the ground
co-ordinates where to mallet in stakes.

Far below,
in near darkness,
through GPS-gizmos on shovels and dozers
to surface computers
a satellite diagrams every move,
every hazard throughout the mine,
and fixes precision crosshairs
on where next to trigger
a blast in a seam.
Even the drill bit houses a delicate sensor
tracking each rock, stratum, and ore
it chews a hole through.

Once every drift is emptied,
and all the miners have gone,
a satellite plans and scans through time
the angles, cuts, cleaning, and seeding
for hills, valleys, wetlands, and bush
reclaimed, again to be green.

* The Mining Automation Program in Canada