I grew up in the Salt City so always have had a taste for salt. Carol showed this poem about a salt mine in Poland to Lin, who showed it to me, and I asked Carol if I could print it here. Perhaps it will be to your taste too.
A Grain of Salt
Gnomes stayed down there, also horses, in the Wieliczka Salt Mines.
Men went up and down on ropes singing devotional hymns,
passing elbow-niches of salt saints. The Precious Mining Protector
blesses the seams of salt, smites those seeking to steal the King’s substance,
forever shields all loyal guardians of the precious mine,
Poland’s glory. A lifetime pinch of it their own.
Three salt lakes—one per cent of the mine—may be visited in groups
at set hours. All else cordoned off—brain and bone of the Salty Man,
his terrain. The long lift down and with luck back up. A circling wall of stairs.
Tales told of and by this creature need be taken with a grain of salt.
Error: At once one swift shake of itself over the shoulder
will blind any looming evil eye. Avoid rubbing into wounds.
What would be our lot, lacking salt? Meat would rot, savor shrink on tongue.
Not so! For they, the Faithful, patrol the Realm. Thus the Underworld City
blooms. Long tunnels branch into elemental darkness veined with salt and chill.
Chandeliers of vacant tears suspend hugely. An almost roofless height engulfs
the great ballroom spread lakelike below. Buffed clean, minus water—
though barrels shoulder down for thirst. The Salty Man dares not weep,
though weep he would, his wife’s last look back marking grief’s full measure.
Men and horses, warm-blooded, plod a tight circle—turning the wooden crank,
winching up each giant lodestone of repentance—their ropes chunked translucent.
Centuries of withheld tears groove the cheeks of those
compacted into gnomes. No visit is complete without a purchase:
Salted wood, heart walled in, embodied in petrified locus. Why which one?
Cap of red, tiny beard a white ruff, teeth on show. The fiercely tiny artifacts hiss:
Take us home! Whirling around, catch nothing. Then pull the bell, comes the lift
to haul us back to living earth. But the horses, shaggy with salt, always stayed.