A Miner's Ode

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By: Wayne Brown

The stains on my hands tell the story of my past


Deep in the mines where the dark shadows cast


Hours on hours of digging in those veins of coal


Hidden from the light in a world getting ever old






That long ride down the shaft; some time to dwell


On lost souls of the past long cast into this hell


Buried deep in this darkened pit; a miner’s grave


No one to go down for; No one left there to save






Never a day passes without the dangers so aware


Every minute is an eternity; every move with care


A wrong step and things head in directions unknown


Then all of us get buried in this deep coal vein alone






That black is pure money to everyone in the mine


What you get depends on where you are in the line


For those who go down the depths for the digging


Never enough but it’s our only way to make a living




A day down in the mine is like a day lost to the wind


We start back living when we surface once again


A time to wonder; is it raining or is the sun shining?


Time stands still when you work in the way of mining






Fathers and sons, generations of men, work in the mine


From man to man, family to family; a way down the line


Every man wishes that his son would take another way


Make a living on this earth; never leave the light of day




Coal-mining is in our blood; we’ve been doing it for ages


The dangers are many; ‘round here you can’t beat the wages


All a man can do is pray that he can live out his lifetime


And not find death and isolation at the bottom of a mine






God sees our faces when we come back up the shaft


He knows we’re tired; hears the nervous in our laughs


Hopefully he will watch out for us and keep us all secure


When we go back down to mine that king coal so dear






Stained hands and a trust in God; all a miner has to show


For that journey down the shaft; a time that passes so slow


Fears unspoken yet lived; a life to darkness enslaved


A prayer to God in silence to avoid the miner’s grave







©Copyright WBrown2012. All Rights Reserved


25 January 2012


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Comments 14 comments

My Minds Eye53 profile image

My Minds Eye53 4 years ago from Tennessee

What a great read, proud to have gotten here first.

I could never do this job. This reminds me of Tennessee Ernie Fords song "Sixteen Tons".

Voted up and shared

Maureen


Vincent Moore 4 years ago

Coal mining is a way of life, handed down from father to son. You described the terror and drudgery of a coal miner's life deep down in that godforsaken pit. Cold and covered in coal so far below the bowels of the earth not ever knowing when it may be their final breath.

Your video and song covered it all, I tip my hat to those brave men who risk their lives daily to bring home their pay to feed their families, never knowing it may be their last. Well done Wayne, Voted up awesome and beautiful.


Dame Scribe profile image

Dame Scribe 4 years ago from Canada

Could visualize all that you shared :) thank you!


reikieffect profile image

reikieffect 4 years ago

Very intense!! Thanks for bringing to our mind the sacrifice done by these persons.


aslaught profile image

aslaught 4 years ago from Alabama

I usually don't read poetry, but this caught my eye and I stayed to read and I'm glad I did. Simply a beautiful poem and deep reflection on a way of life none of us can understand because we haven't experienced it.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas Author

@My Minds Eye53...I agree with you...the best that I can do is empathize a bit. Thanks much! WB

I believe people do this type of work because they see no alternative and the courage to do it is bred into their genes by the past generations. On the best day, I could not do it but I can sure admire those who do. WB

@Dame Scribe...Thank you for the good words. WB

@reikieffect...Many people risk their very lives daily just to make a living...and we think we have problems! LOL! Thanks much! WB

@aslaught...What a great compliment. I am so glad that I caught your interest or held your attention or this one. You might be interested to know that up until about a year ago I did not write poetry...so we all change. My promise in writing poetry is that you will always know what you read and understand it. Thanks much! WB


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

What a wonderful tribute to coal miners! My great-great grandfather and great-grandfather owned coal mines in Pennsylvania. I've often wondered how well they took care of their miners. This is a beautiful, but honest ode to those men who work in a place that shuts out the light and blackens their lungs with coal dust. What would the rest of us do without them? Voted up! I love the photo and the video!


femmeflashpoint 4 years ago

Cowboy Brown,

This is a really wonderful tribute. :)

I was going to say that a couple of generations ago, my Kentucky family finally got out of the mining business and moved on to better things.

But, when I began thinking about it, the better things they moved on to were horses, tobacco cropping and corn liquor, which makes us look like an abundantly sinful lot specializing in gambling, smoking and sippin' shine.

Those sort of made the coal mining look pretty good, lol.

However, I gotta say, coal mining would scare me stupid, so I'm forever impressed with the folks who will ride those cars down into the earth to work out the black gold we're so dependent on in many areas still.

Takes a whole lot of courage to do what they do, day in and day out for a lifetime.

You've painted an excellent picture of what they go through to earn a living.

femme


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Wayne, a wonderful tribute to miners, a great photo and picture video.

Thank you for sharing, voted up and across the board.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 4 years ago

Just finished reading a book that looked at this very subject. These miners sacrifice their health for their families and we all benefit. There must be a better way.


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 4 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

Wayne, boy does hub like this remind me of my blessings.....and to think, I was getting quite miffed this morning at my jobe, when there was no more snickers in the vending machine.

Ya gotta keep things in perspective,huh?

very very awesome poem, and the music video was perfect.

Chris


poetvix profile image

poetvix 4 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

The song fits so well with the poem. You conveyed the desperation, pride and danger so well. I can only imagine such a life. It's the labor of brave men like this that built America. What a shame they never really got to share in the profits that went mostly to someone who never took a risk with their lives, only their money.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

What a great tribute to all hard working miners. A dangerous job indeed. Wonderful imagery and sentiment in this poem. Rated up and awesome!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas Author

@suzettenaples...I would guess that even in the best of situations, coal mining was a trying task. Men did it because there was no other way to turn and nothing that matched the pay in the local area. But, I suspect they all lived in fear in that dungeon way down in the ground. Thanks much. WB

@femmelflashpoint...Youhave to keep things in perspective...bootlegging was good enough for ol' Joe Kennedy...that should set it right for any family! LOL! Thanks for the great comment. WB

@Movie Master...Thanks so much and so glad that you enjoyed this one. WB

@breakfastpop...Yes, sadly, if you did happen to survive the dangers of the mine, most likely your demise would come from black lung disease. There were many down-sides to this way of life. WB

@CMerritt...Is it not interesting how quickly we can be humbled in our surroundings simply by becoming aware of the plight of so many others. We should indeed count our blessings and discover our patience. Thanks, Chris! WB

@poetvix...I could not see the poem having the proper impact without some very appropriate music to set the tone. That song worked out to be the perfect one. Thanks so much! WB

@suziecat7...Thank you! So glad you liked it! WB

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