Noble Metals


The metals we call noble won’t
combine with other elements,
don’t interact with water, air.
Of course that means they don’t corrode
or fade or rust, need little work
of polishing. So gold and some
alloys and also platinum,
like minerals of Elysium,
remain aloof and scintillant,
keep their immunity to change
while ordinary iron will burn
in time, get eaten by the air
like living things that die and rot
and mingle with the fecund mold.
But platinum, its alloys, gold,
and all their noble kin, will hold
their purity like some ideal
of beauty, bright and sterile,
like everything immortal.

Robert Morgan’s most recent collection is Terroir (2011). He teaches at Cornell University.
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