Workers by hand and brain
At first they dug with picks, and then the great
steam drills were made. The navvies, who had carved
their way through living rock, sickened or starved
or died of bends. The bubbles percolate
to heart or brain; you die. Not soon enough,
The engineers and stokers died as well.
They might as well have tunnelled into Hell.
The bubbles came for them. Not only rough
workers by hand die at those depths; the brains
of scientists who tried to work out why
exploded too. They came back, saw the sky
and felt the pangs of death. These days the trains
are pressurized. Unharmed we make our way
from London to New York in just one day.