Banking Coal

Jean Toomer 1894 (Washington, D.C.) – 1967 (Doylestown)



Whoever it was who brought the first wood and coal
To start the Fire, did his part well;
Not all wood takes to fire from a match,
Nor coal from wood before it’s burned to charcoal.
The wood and coal in question caught a flame
And flared up beautifully, touching the air
That takes a flame from anything.

Somehow the fire was furnaced,
And then the time was ripe for some to say,
“Right banking of the furnace saves the coal.”
I’ve seen them set to work, each in his way,
Though all with shovels and with ashes,
Never resting till the fire seemed most dead;
Whereupon they’d crawl in hooded night-caps
Contentedly to bed. Sometimes the fire left alone
Would die, but like as not spiced tongues
Remaining by the hardest on till day would flicker up,
Never strong, to anyone who cared to rake for them.
But roaring fires never have been made that way.
I’d like to tell those folks that one grand flare
Transferred to memory tissues of the air
Is worth a like, or, for dull minds that turn in gold,
All money ever saved by banking coal.

Font size:
Collection  PDF     
 

Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

58 sec read
116

Quick analysis:

Scheme AXXAXBX CDADXCXXXXXDBBCA
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,030
Words 196
Stanzas 2
Stanza Lengths 7, 16

Jean Toomer

Jean Toomer was an American poet and novelist and an important figure of the Harlem Renaissance. more…

All Jean Toomer poems | Jean Toomer Books

1 fan

Discuss the poem Banking Coal with the community...

0 Comments

    Translation

    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "Banking Coal" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 Jul 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/21307/banking-coal>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    July 2024

    Poetry Contest

    Join our monthly contest for an opportunity to win cash prizes and attain global acclaim for your talent.
    9
    days
    11
    hours
    5
    minutes

    Special Program

    Earn Rewards!

    Unlock exciting rewards such as a free mug and free contest pass by commenting on fellow members' poems today!

    Browse Poetry.com

    Quiz

    Are you a poetry master?

    »
    "Now I become myself. It's taken time, many years and places."
    A May Sarton
    B W.H. Auden
    C Robert Frost
    D Rita Dove