The scar remains, two centuries on:
A sterile field, a poisoned rock.
The dust in summer, streams in spring,
Still thick with arsenic, lead and zinc.
A hundred families mined the ore,
They scraped their living coughing blood.
Salvation came in crusts of bread
And praying for the skylark’s song.
But far away the freedom flowed,
And wealth and light and flowers bloomed.
In silk and satin, trade and faith,
The spirit of the age was writ.
So hollow are those words of joy
When carved in stone on children’s graves.