The boxes are ticked by those men who’ve been picked, from the keenest
Of yes men there, for checks done each day so the bosses can say, that
Their workforce takes extra care.
But the bosses were tricked by some men that they picked for a job that
All liars can do composing old fiction that begs a
Conviction for writing what still isn’t true.
But on they run with boxes ticked, while welding’s cracked and
Something’s dripped, inside the cell where Foremen looked: for hours on
End in ‘Logs and books recording all the names of crooks who would’nt
See and didn’t look, behind those windows two foot feet, where fell a
Steady drip of ticks.
Soon crystals formed as crystals do, from tiny holes where pressure grew,
A mist of droplets spewing out, a sight that should have brought a shout
From the Foremen ticking thrice each day when signing names for easy pay:
The country paying bigger lumps to lazy men for growing dumps.
Some columns formed with lost control, as Foremen ticked and shirkers
Stole five minutes here then hours there forsaking safety’s measured stare
For extra tea and flashy things, that overtime some boxes bring with
Elements whose mass can change the genes of everything in range.
Trapped outside their ticking box where spillage flows like molten rocks
With dangers left to grow unseen until one idle Chargehand’s scream said
“Shut it down and do it quick before we’re all in deepest shit there’s been
Another situation, critical to every nation.”
By Duncan Ball
Talented poet and former nuclear foreman Duncan Ball died on July 17th aged 49. He was a man who tried repeatedly to blow the whistle on unsafe practices in the Magnox plant at Sellafield where he was employed as a foreman. His subsequent experience followed the same route as the dissident scientists who were sacked from Sellafield after expressing doubts about nuclear safety in the 70’s (NEW STATESMAN July 1983)
Having tried all avenues to raise the alarm about unsafe practices causing releases of radiation, in 2004 Duncan left what he called a “literary bomb” in the Sellafield visitor centre. This was nothing more harmful to the general public than a disc which contained a detailed log of dangerous practices within Sellafield. Duncan who lived in Penrith was jailed for 2 years.
Duncan was a Founder Member of Radiation Free Lakeland . He was discredited by the nuclear industry and described by them as “obsessive” but the truth is he was a hero whose only crime was trying to alert his employers and the wider public to dangerous practices in the nuclear industry. His voice will still be heard for generations to come through his wonderful and prescient poetry – Cumbrians should listen to the truth of what Duncan had to say
Duncan died in 2009 before being “compensated” by the nuclear industry’s Compensation Scheme for Radiation Linked Diseases.
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