Waterwheel

19 May 1991
It was a complex system of water-wheels,
     A system based on pressure, on the power
          Of a healthy Susquehanna. There must have
Been a giant axle at one time for this place
     To have turned with all of the grace
          Of a giant ferris wheel. "It really could have
Worked," I remark, as if it never did.
     Perhaps certain parts of the wheel
          Went towards the making of the giant
Ferris wheel in the 1904 World's Fair
     In St. Louis, a time when Scott Joplin
          Was playing his
     Cascades
          Rag
               in
               the
               local
               brothels.
          Could he have known the important link
     Between waterfalls and ferris wheels?
The same link found in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
     Where ragtime was not as popular
          As, say, the Polish Mazurka, but just the same,
The river
     Poured
          Its
          Power
               Onto
               The giant
               Water wheel paddles,
     Ultimately, through gearboxes and grease,
Crushing the coal, crushing the coal, crushing the coal.

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