A Memorial to Miners

By: chesshirecat

Apr 08 2010

Category: Uncategorized

1 Comment

Miner’s Park, Big Stone Gap, VA.

Sweet Sixteen.

Old enough now to work underground
I was able to earn an extra pound,
This money I know will help pay the bills,
Just Mam and me at home, there’s no frills.

As I step on the cage to go down below,
I worry because, what’s to come, I don’t know.
Into the darkness the cage drops at great speed,
My heart starts to pound, will it stop where decreed.

I shouldn’t have worried the winder was true,
The cage stopped perfectly, right on cue.
The on-setter gave us a cheerful “hello”,
This was my welcome to life down below.

The air smelled so different to that up above,
Sort of stale, a bit off, to breath in, I strove.
I felt sick in my stomach, my mouth filled with juice,
I hoped in my heart it would get better with use.

Everywhere was as black as coal; I struggled to see.
I turned on my lamp as darkness enveloped me,
The beam that shone forth was restricted some what,
I could see only things, which my head pointed at.

I was six ft. tall, the tunnels at times, only five ft. six,
Watching roof and floor at same time was a careful mix.
I walked with a stoop; head bent forward a bit,
So my head with the roof I hoped not to hit.

Of course as all miners know and will tell,
Not one can claim to have mastered it well.
Everyone in his time hit his head with a whack,
It happened each time concentration was slack.

Of all that I learned in my days in the pit,
Keep your head down or an object you’ll hit,
Was always remembered each time I forgot,
When I hit my head, oh! My, I did that a lot.


One comment on “A Memorial to Miners”

  1. Thank you for posting this…my heart goes out to those families!
    Did you write this poem? It’s excellent

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