Summer nineteen seventy-three:
'Crush injury', an understatement, is the reason
for the Path Lab tests that show
a man aged sixty-two
He was in the miners' cage that plunged
down the pit-shaft with no speed control.
Brakes and back-up stops had failed:
eighteen dead, eleven survivors.
The inquiry found a brake part fractured
caused by detectable metal fatigue.
Engineers worldwide even now take note.
One of the Path Lab staff
would many times recall
the robbery with violence
of a retirement in fresh air;
would contemplate the final seconds
in that cage together -
and the feelings of the winding man
in that engine-house alone.
The answers came in the new millennium
with postings on the web from family and friends.
The sixty-two year old was a caravanner,
his grandson's posting states. There were wreaths
all over his front garden
from caravanners who,
on holiday in Derbyshire that week,
came to his funeral.
The final seconds in the cage
were recalled by a survivor not long before he died.
A voice had shouted from the lower platform:
'This is it, lads. We're f****d. We're going to f*****g die.'
Then silence, cacophony, silence.
The inquiry fully exonerated the winding man
but it's said he never spoke again.