Relics of a pioneering toil,
Cast iron stove and harness chains;
Jumbled with electronic chassis and
Alloy bric-a-brac of fleeting gains.
Keepsakes of generations,
In barn and garage troven;
Conjuring memories and ghosts,
Guardians of infinite possession.
All now are gutted for their precious ores,
Pig iron, copper, brass, aluminum and steel;
Silent are the motors that once drove the electric age,
Batteries no longer spark life to the wheel.
From showroom pride to muddy charnel pit,
Crushed carcasses mountain high in bales,
Their guts eviscerated into rusting piles,
Amid the City’s rotting bones of sewer pipes and rails.
Surveying all his hellish abyss
Towers a Giant, open jawed;
Archangels feed his infinite appetite
Ceaselessly craning steel into a grinding, fuming maw.
He belches steam and groans as knives grind cars to shreds,
Bolts and metal shards fly from his head
As shrapnel on the killing fields of war,
Beware all those brave to venture near; hasten or be dead.
A sixteen wheeler rumbles in with more corpses for the auto pile,
Battered pickers’ trucks deliver scavenged loads for meagre gain.
The weigh scale converts intrinsic value to raw poundage,
A lady at the front desk gives little cash for all your pain.
Bryan D. Cook October 2010
Context for Metal Scrap Yard: A Recycler’s Saga
On Friday October 15, 2010, I took a trailer load of scrap metal to recycle it at Bakermet Scrap Metal Buyers and Recyclers at 2555 Sheffield Road, Ottawa, Ontario. The scrap yard is dominated by a 4 story steel shredding tower fed by articulated cranes. I was hit on the head by shrapnel from the tower (see the attached photo). Fortunately, my safety helmet saved me from serious injury though I was stunned for a minute or so. The dominant material being recycled is automobiles. This poem describes my impressions of the yard.....with abject apologies to Milton!
Read at Tree Reading Series 10 October 2011