A Memorial to Miners
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.