Atoms and molecules of oxygen
breathe life as they pick and stab,
chip and separate, corrode, a fleck
here, an abrasion there; the surface
disintegrating by acidic destruction
and natural disfigurement.
Words and phrases of a poem flow
across stone and metal, a gradual
erosion and wearing down of sharp
edges, leveling rock, pockmarking
steel and iron to create beauty because
they give life as they destroy.
This poem is submitted for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. To see other poems submitted, please visit the site. The links will be live at 2 p.m. Central time today.
It is also submitted for the poetry and rust prompt at The High Calling.
Joseph Priestly was an 18th century theologian, clergyman and natural philosopher who is generally credited with the discovery of oxygen. According to Wikipedia, his scientific reputation during his life rested on his invention of soda water, his writings on electricity and his discovery of several “airs” or gases, the most famous one of which he named “dephlogisticated air,” which came to be called oxygen.
Photograph: Mesh Oxidized by Teodoro S. Gruhl via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.