by Gideon Burton
Dark transformations of the primal matter:
through water, air, through fire and through earth,
from lead to tin to silver, up a ladder,
through mercury, iron, copper -- golden birth.
Much more than metal: archetypes and glyphs,
or aqua vitae from alembic stills,
hepatis liquor with its mystic whiffs --
experiment's arcane and cosmic thrills.
From blackness, primal matter, chaos wild,
the yin and yang of substances to jar;
according to the cosmic Emerald Tile
comes quicksilver through roasting cinnabar.
With secrets alchemists help nature's pace:
while she perfects in slowness; they, in haste.
Photo: flickr - Chemical Heritage Foundation