I lifted it: finger & thumb.
Two tiny holes went deep inside
a single side of it,
but never did emerge.
Pores or sockets? Eyes?
Some sort of mouth?
I listened for its non-existent cries.
I placed it on the skyline
and wondered would it shine.
Soft light and hard light: both it met,
but never did reflect.
And still it tottered on its legs,
a dangerous, solid tank,
until at last I turned it.
I saw how four great rods reached up,
and they were slightly less
than the structure that they left.
A set of smokestacks. Below them
I could count a dozen edges, and those edges
hid the centre.
I turned it sideways then, and made it
all exhaust, a rigid traveller.
And then I saw four holes
which once were underneath.
One by one they each did enter
and reach towards the rods.
Or perhaps the rods had ventured out
and left the holes behind?
Yet those rods were thicker than the holes they left !
Big plug that might enter yet another,
and which a smaller plug might one day enter,
and yet it sat apart from electricity . . .
Something whose function had slipped from memory.
Nothing would make it move or flee.
Nothing would make it quite agree.
Nothing would make it speak to me.
Bill Manhire - Poem
Description of object
10 b/w illustrations
p/b with dust jacket