In my trash today, from Friends Reunited,
Came memories of Londoners’, blighted,
And thoughts of a yellow killer smog,
The 1952 London fog.
In the turmeric thick choke,
Caused by fumes, fires and smoke,
All wore scarves ‘round faces and throats,
And hoped they wouldn’t die.
They couldn’t see their hands in front,
Found, reaching blindly, the known fire hydrant,
Smog, acrid taste, texture of grit,
Touching the tongue as bitter spit.
Folk got lost just crossing the road,
Suffered severe coughing episodes,
4,000 people died in 4 days, still,
8,000 more perished, 100,000 became ill.
This air pollution event in UK history
Remains in living memory,
People lost loved ones who couldn’t cope
With the cloying, all-consuming choke.
After, fires burned not coal but coke,
(No, not the drink nor the white powder, nope).
The ’56 Clean Air Act was invoked
So people wouldn’t die.
Do I recall this? No, not I,
Social Media rectified my
Lack of knowledge that so many died,
In so very short a time.
Polly Robinson © 2013
From a prompt by Brian Miller at dVerse poets: Reaching the Masses ~ Brian asked us to write a poem from the perspective of one of the medias and into my Trash popped the info I’ve used in this poem ~ for sure this event sadly did reach the masses