Voices in the Coalshed
“The best thing since sliced bread”, so the saying goes. 1928 that was invented. 113 years earlier a thin slice of gauze wrapped around a flame saved thousands of lives. Humphry Davy’s miners’ safety lamp was the best thing as far as colliers were concerned.
To mark “Light in the Darkness”, the Davy exhibition in the Technology Gallery at the National Coal Mining Museum, “Voices in the Coalshed” invites you to nominate what you think is the best invention… “…since sliced bread”.
I think the best invention ever is…………………, because………………..
Send your idea to:
Suggestions will be post on www.coalshedpoets.blogspot.com and then become exhibits the virtual museum.
Writer in Residence
National Coal Mining Museum of England
The Invention of Light
Candles! Count them on your birthday cake, then
Blow! Make a wish first, of course. Power cut,
Light a candle, the teardrop of flame makes
The shadows dance, a warm glow of past times
Until reconnection with the present.
Scented candles received as gifts, then wrapped
In coloured tissue they’re given again
Candles! Just the one and it stinks,
Just a stub of putrid animal fat
With a weak flickering flame that flutters
And gutters when the trapper hauls open
His trap for hurriers to hurry through.
Weak, but yet too strong when the mine’s bad breath,
The methane, the feared fire damp, concentrates.
Make a wish it isn’t so, of course.
Far, far better though to not wish but do,
Tame the flame, stop it becoming angry
With a wrap of gauze, simple, yet profound.
How many thousands of lives screened from death
By a plan with so many holes in it?
Light the lamp, labour in its yellow glow,
Know to go when it sputters and turns blue.
Davy or Stephenson? Stepping from darkness,
Colliers couldn’t care who invented the light.