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Alchemy: A TaleJohn Hughes
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Vol. 10 No. 18 · 13 October 1988
Poem

Alchemy: A Tale

John Hughes

141 words

A certain man flew from Chicago to his native Golden Vale
To resurrect a recurring dream from his childhood.
The dream: A Frenchman called Lavoisier
Being cooked in a bath till he revealed
The whereabouts of the long-lost philosopher’s stone –
The stone which is not a stone.

But his dream brought him to the attention
Of the Angel of Fire Mountain,
Who took him to the city of Prague
To stand trial for an unspecified mortal sin
Before Cardinals Silver, Iron, Tin and Lead.
They called his sentence of death Transmutation,
Washed their hands of him in sulfur water,
Processed into Wenceslas Square,
And corroded into the nothingness of Mercurial Lore
Screaming, ‘One nature rejoices in another nature,
One nature masters another nature.’

A certain man was burnt to death on Desolation Island
By an unflickering, nonluminous, tongue of fire.

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