Steel Works

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Steel Works



Blast furnaces, huge black silos,
          shoot white-hot sparks
     and billowing, orange clouds of smoke.
Clusters of furnaces burn
coal, limestone and iron.
Coal cars carry the dirt
     up tracks to the top of the furnace.
The steel rolls out in bars,
the slag in railroad cars,
          white-hot.
The mounds of ore make pyramids
beside the rolling mills, foundries,
forges and tin mills,
like long, sheet-metal barns
between railroad tracks and the river.

     Allegheny Mountains
     Monongahela River
     Mon Valley, Steel Valley
     Youghiogheny River.

          Kelsey Hayes
               the tin mill
          Christy Park Works
          Fort Pitt Foundry
               “The Valley Forge”
          Reliance Steel
          National Plant, USS

               United States Steel
               McKeesport-Duquesne Works
               National Tube
          the Irvin Works
          the Edgar Thomson Works
          Carey Furnace
          the Braddock Plant
          “Big Dorothy”
               the open hearth furnace
          Homestead Works
          LTV J & L Steel
               Jones & Laughlin
          Mesta Machine
          Metaltech
          Duquesne Slag

          Chesapeake & Ohio
                    C & O
          Baltimore & Ohio
                    B & O
          Pennsylvania Railroad
          Pittsburgh & Lake Erie
                    P & L E
          Erie & Lackawanna

The pig iron plant closed down.
Its hay-day was railroads,
                    then beans and tubing
                                        then bomb manufacture.

A challenge raves
                    about money & debt issues,
                                        then bubbles into creepy silence.

The works are all a dark
                    at night along the river.
The place is less like hell,
                    an empty valley.
The steelworkers’ homes decay.