Commentary to the poem “To the wood...”
As the epigraph to this poem, there can be used the words of Porphyry Ivanov, peace be upon him, from his work “The Untruth”:
Nature is a rich mother: air, water and land,
We were taken from the ore-bed and the mine,
We were melted in the furnace and the pit —
We were cast and wrought and hammered to design,
We were cut and filed and tooled and gauged to fit.
Some water, coal, and oil is all we ask,
And a thousandth of an inch to give us play:
And now, if you will set us to our task,
We will serve you four and twenty hours a day!
We can pull and haul and push and lift and drive,
Would you call a friend from half across the world?
If you’ll let us have his name and town and state,
You shall see and hear your cracking question hurled
Across the arch of heaven while you wait.
Has he answered? Does he need you at his side —
You can start this very evening if you choose
And take the Western Ocean in the stride
O seventy thousand horses and some screws!
The boat-express is waiting your command!
Do you wish to make the mountains bare their head
And lay their new-cut forests at your feet?
Do you want to turn a river in its bed,
Or plant a barren wilderness with wheat?
Shall we pipe aloft and bring you water down
From the never-failing cisterns of the snows,
To work the mills and tramways in your town,
And irrigate your orchards as it flows?
It is easy! Give us dynamite and drills!
But remember, please, the Law by which we live,
We are not built to comprehend a lie,
We can neither love nor pity nor forgive.
If you make a slip in handling us you die!
We are greater than the Peoples or the Kings —
Be humble, as you crawl beneath our rods! —
Our touch can alter all created things,
We are everything on earth — except The Gods!
Though our smoke may hide the Heavens from your eyes,
And it is pertinent to give here Lucius Annaeus Seneca’s words: “Omne malum ex urbe.” (“All harm comes from the town.”)