Here we have a range of poems and stories from folk whos lifes have been affected by asbestos.




There's a man in my bed I used to love him
His kisses use to take my breath away
There's a man in my bed I hardly know him
As I wipe his face and hold his hand
and watch him as he slowly fades away

He fades away
Not like leaves that fall in autumn
Turning gold against the grey
He fades away
Like the blood stains on the pillow case
that I wash every day
He fades away

There's a man in my bed he's on a pension
though he's only 50 years of age
and the lawyers say we might get compensation
in the course of due procedure
but they wouldn't say for certain at this stage

He fades away...

He's not the only one who made the trip
So many years ago to work the Wittenoom Mine
So many young men old before there time
and dying slow they fade away
Wheezing bags of bones with lungs half clogged
and filled with clay

They fade away...

There's a man in my bed nobody told him
The cost of bring home his weekly pay
And when the courts decide how much they owe him
How will he spend his money as he lies in bed
and coughs his life away

He fades away...

There's a man in my bed I used to love him
His kisses use to take my breath away
There's a man in my bed I hardly know him
As I wipe his face and hold his hand
and watch him as he slowly fades away


Written by a Scot in Australia, Alistair Harlet


Jist A Joiner


He never smoked and seldom spent
Worked a' the 'oors the good Lord sent
Oor kids were clever, we planned wi' elation
Their future lay in good education
He worked the yards, railway, corporation
Those were the days a working nation
The Red Road flats, the highest let
Are killing workers even yet
He'd come home tired, covered in dust
Ah'd moan an groan, fit tae bust
Nae washin' machine tae lighten ma load
Ah hated those flats in Barmulloch's Red Road
Don't tell me they didnae know
Asbestos kills - not fast - but slow
Hitler, may he roast in hell
Banned asbestos, he knew well
Even the doctors shrug and stutter
Asbestosis, a diagnosis they wull nutt utter
They put ma kids as well as me
In danger o' catching this maladie
He never complains, no need, no need,
Made o' sterner stuff, a dyin' breed
Ah lie awake an hear his pain
That bloody cough, again, again
My point is this, somebody knew
Too late for him, too late for you?


Catherine Hislop



This silent killer
Spawned in hell
Turns healthy men
To an empty shell.

lt ravishes the young
The old and the just
Making no exceptions
This savage lethal dust.

Thousands still die
As its cancer reaps
Men murdered to young
Their widow sadly weeps.

When barristers support
Men of medicine's lies
Justice wears a blindfold
Ignoring the righteous cries.

To all the rich bureaucrats
Who conspired in this misery
May you suffer in hell
Throughout all of eternity.


2nd JULY 2003





Azure skies, arid plains; that still beauty
Breathtaking vast expansions of time
First impression on most of us
Hidden secret killer dust
Unseen fibre destroying lungs
Of impoverished peoples unsung
What air they breathe of fibres blue
Exposed for years as chidren young
Then Suddenly struck! pain attacking
Sad faces, pallor a greyish hue
And bureaucrats ignore their plight
Asbestuis okay! its asthma or TB
Surreal world of theirs to cover shame
Fat cats gaining with greed of gold
Workers! do they care of them
Women, children; men; starving sick
Killing masses by the score
More! More!! More and more
What can be done?
World environmentalists must impress
All nations North, East, South and West
Action now must be given
Saving victims an early heaven
And we must campaign on
Awareness high profile
The blue silent dust will blow across the plains meanwhile

30th. July 2003 - by ENIGMA FLAVIA

Composed on flight from Kimberley to Cape Town. Looking out of the window at the vast land and the devastation I had witnessed in the Northern Cape. How the blue asbestos clung to vegetation, continual airborne fibres. Exposed to this the sad fact is what chance has the population living in such an environment. The constant sound of wracking coughing, even behind the rich colour of skin that grey pallor, yet they smile and hope. Hope! God help them and greatly humbled was I. This I dedicate to Isaac Machonyane, I shall never forget his soulful eyes. Isaac I interviewed on the ITN documentary " Real Life," series shown in August 2004.

Asbestuis! is how the South Africans spell and pronounce the word.

Back to Home Page