LEAD


Lead is the oldest metal
connected to the planet Saturn
some pipes still bear the inscription
of Roman Emperors.

Sugar of Lead was used in Rome
as sweetener for wine
and said to cause dementia
in several Emperors’ minds.

Pencil lead isn’t lead at all
graphite is used instead
but the Roman stylus the pencillus
was fashioned out of lead.

Lead resists corrosion
and is easy to extract
lead is used with antimony
mixed with arsenic.

Alchemists respected lead
the toxin and sure poison
lead in toys and paints has caused
the deaths of countless children.

Lead is bluest when first cut
and tarnishes in air
when mixed in part with brass
reduces machine tool wear.

Lead is part of solder
used for pewter pots
lead is poured for bullet weight
lead is cast for shot.

The symbol Pb signifies
the Latin root plumbum
gave the English word plumbing
when lead pipes were the custom.

 

(unrecorded, published in QUADRANT)