Still Glowing In Their Graves

For the young women in 1920s USA who painted the luminous dials on watches and clocks.  They were encouraged to lick their brushes in order to save paint.  They were unaware that the radium paint was killing them.  They thought Radium was health-inducing.  They, like the clocks, glowed in the dark.  Susan McCartney

100 years

Encased in lead

6 feet under

They still glow in their graves

Sacrificed for profit

TICK TOCK TICK TOCK

Dip and lip, dip and lip

Paint that luminous dial, glowing girl

Dip and lick

Brush to lips

Don’t waste a drop

You really don’t know

That your number

Is already up

TICK TOCK TICK TOCK

Dip, lip, paint

Serve your country

Green shimmering, shiny fairy

Once a glowing goddess

Now ghost

TICK TOCK TICK TOCK

Dip, lip, paint

It’ll make your cheeks rosy

Paint those watch dials

Your teeth, your skin, your lips

Glow girl, glow

It’s harmless – it’ll do you good

TICK TOCK TICK TOCK

Dip, lip, and dip, that radium paint

6 dips to lip, every dial

200 dials a day

Dip and lick, dip to lick

Don’t waste a drop

You, the walking dead

TICK TOCK TICK TOCK

And what if your teeth are falling out?

And what if your jaw is crumbling?

And what if tumours invade your body?

What if you’ve lost a limb?

What if you’re rotting from within?

It’s not our paint. It’s you

Poor dental hygiene

Syphilis

Feminine hysteria!

Glowing girl

Now go girl, GO

Go die

TICK TOCK TICK TOCK

Time’s running out

For the walking ghosts

But time enough, to make the Company pay

TICK TOCK TICK TOCK

Tell me it won’t happen again

Tell me lessons have been learned

Tell me the innocent won’t be sacrificed for profit

But I won’t believe you

100 years. Encased in lead. 6 feet under

Sacrificed for profit

And still glowing in their graves

TICK TOCK TICK TOCK TICK… TICK… TICK…

6 thoughts on “Still Glowing In Their Graves

  1. Louis Kasatkin

    A particularly poignant and evocative piece, one that has more contemporary resonances in the wake of the Mark Ruffalo movie “Dark Waters”.

    Welcome to Destiny Poets!

    Reply
  2. VijayNair

    A powerful,hard-hitting,ironical,sarcastic,and brilliantly -conceived and executed poem.I was moved by the visually-impactful narrative.

    Reply
  3. Amita Paul

    What a tragic consequence of the greed of a few this poem describes !
    Sadly the situation continues to replicate itself even today in different forms and shapes across the globe

    Reply
  4. Sankari Prasad Sarkar

    Still Glowing In Their Graves

    Its an ode and obit to the hapless young girls brilliantly portrayed as ” still glowing in their graves”.

    Reply
  5. tapeshwar

    Sad perfume emanating from, down the earth; flowering. It remind me of the man Mr Badii in the film “Taste of Cherry”!

    Reply

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