Fiona Pitt-Kethley is the author of more than twenty books of prose and poetry. She is British but has lived in Spain for the last thirteen years together with her family and an adopted family of feral cats. She is currently writing a prose book and poems on the Sierra Minera.
Mina Segundo Ferrocarril
Its mouth is hidden in the woods. A slope
leads up to it behind a cemetery.
The Romans mined here first, then Modern Man
reopened it, extending passages.
So many Roman mines ended up thus.
Nineteenth and Twentieth century bosses lacked
divining skills to search out other spots,
preferred to scrape the last scraps of the ore
from almost worked-out mines that once were good.
The tunnel´s filled with mud up to our knees.
Its roof is low, easy to strike your head.
Our ancestors were shorter in those days.
Along the route some rusting rails emerge
The passageway divides, forking in two,
its Roman straighteneess bending to a curve.
Galena glints where lights illumine it.
No hammer needed on these brittle walls.
They yield their samples to our fingers´ touch,
gypsum, rainbowed with goethite, yellowed with iron.
The left branch leads to ancient areas.
Some masonry that´s growing stalactites.
Clear water pooling on the floor beside.
A white precipitate turns it to milk
as we plod through it to the tunnel´s end.
The right branch has a ramp that leads upstairs.
This mine goes up where other mines go down.
The upper level´s dry. The clearest quartz,
galena, siderite adorn its walls.
gypsum so delicate it turns to dust.
More passages, another drystone wall
leads up for those who have the skill to climb.
A telltale string other collectors left
marks out the path to precious minerals.