Runcible Spoon

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Old Lead Mines, Hebden Beck


Breezes scull along the steep, tree-lined beck.

Rowans, laden with nodding red berries, wave

toward wasted ghosts. Density shed, spirits still tread

uphill paths once worn to shiny, stony bumps by miners’ clogs.

Lead fields, seams raped to sate industrial appetites,

now freshen and recover. In trenches, earthen veins were emptied,

minerals bled, cleared of wealth and waste. Today, in midnights’ fog

old blades axe the air, hoarse voices sing hymns and celebrate

lost colliers’ lives, men sacrificed, men dead. Disembodied grief abides

as hollow eyes watch leisured folk tread light-footed, forgetful on green turf

sprung over rough graves of pitmen who laboured hard, suffered, stank and died.