No moving parts

This is vibration's last hiding place
heady with grease and cast
iron altars to dissected engines.

You lurk behind - always
behind never quite within reach -
the cabinet with its worksheets awaiting
next monday's batch of blotchy students.
Soon I'll stand there popping
bubblewrap from your latest toy but first
I must press my ear
to the wall of the flume tank next door
and listen for the sea.

I've made it to your corner
where cardboard and foam battle for dominion
over keyboards grimy with lost sleep. Your pump
rises eeriely fragile
as you point out condenser, boiler,
the wrapped coil
you say mimics the sun's heat.

Now you tune this valve and the red liquid
swings censer like in its tubes. So this
is your silent wonder, malleable
and graceful yet clearly kin
to these oil-thirsty hulks with their three ton turbines
and bolts the size of my fist.

They were rail's golden age
and clattering mills. This is water
to parched fields.

Suzanne Aigrain, 2004