Fatal Fashions #poem #poetry #chemistry #arsenic

Victorian demonstration of chemistry

Victorians loved chemistry

A gorgeous pigment,
Lovely green,
Made dresses sparkle
Like emeralds.
Bonnets to display with pride
Brought happiness
So ephemeral.

The fanciest paper
On the wall,
To grace a baby’s nursery,
Or a parlor
Kept for guests,
Brought pain and death,
But no mercy.

Even books,
My comfort close,
Collected in old libraries,
Can curse a modern reader still,
As they did to their
Contemporaries.

Arsenic makes that glowing green
So irresistible.
Its compounds deadlier than sin
Their poison touch
Regrettable.

Kate Rauner

The Victorians knew villains used arsenic, but somehow missed understanding that not all victims were killed by a human murderer. Unless you count the manufacturers of these dreadfully beautiful pigments. Interested in the grisly details of death by arsenic poisoning? Read here.

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