ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Miner's Ode

Updated on December 15, 2014

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


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @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

    • suziecat7 profile image


      6 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!

    • poetvix profile image


      6 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.

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 

      6 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.


    • breakfastpop profile image


      6 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.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      6 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.

    • profile image


      6 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.


    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      6 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!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @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 we all change. My promise in writing poetry is that you will always know what you read and understand it. Thanks much! WB

    • aslaught profile image


      6 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.

    • reikieffect profile image


      6 years ago

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

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Could visualize all that you shared :) thank you!

    • profile image

      Vincent Moore 

      6 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.

    • My Minds Eye53 profile image

      My Minds Eye53 

      6 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



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)