There’s No Cure In Mercury
The liquid metal mercury
has got a sordid history.
In Georgian times they put it in
their tonics as a medicine.
But since it’s toxic to nerve cells
it causes nasty dizzy spells
loss of sight and hearing ills.
Too much and then this poison kills!
Its common name is quicksilver.
A shining river, moving mirror
found in old thermometers
tooth-fillings and barometers.
But back in Eighteenth Century
the rich and poor thought mercury
would have a magic healing trick.
Instead it made them very sick!
When I was at school in the sixties, we were allowed to hold droplets of mercury in our hands, roll them across the science lab desks and be fascinated by feeling its weight and texture. There was something mesmerising and magical about playing with this liquid metal. No wonder it was thought to have “special properties”. Fortunately we now know better!