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.