ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Poetry: 'Dust!' A poem about Black Lung Disease with lung picture

Updated on June 4, 2014
Image courtesy of Wiki Commons
Image courtesy of Wiki Commons

Coal Worker's Pneumoconiosis (Black Lung Disease)

Coal Worker's Pneumoconiosis (CWP) is also known as Anthracosis, or Black Lung Disease. It is an affliction generally caused by inhalation of small amounts of coal dust over many years working within the coal industry. The disease is much less prevelant these days due to improvements in equipment and working conditions.

The main symptoms are a shortness of breath caused by deposits of coal dust in the lungs. This in turn often leads to heart failure and emphysema. Retired coal workers are far better respected now than in earlier times, and many now qualify for good pensions, although this is probably small recompense for those afflicted with Black Lung Disease, which is often long-term and incurable.

Dust! (Black Lung Disease)

Breath In, Breathe deep
Day turns into night
And night into day
Underground

Cough, cough
The air is like treacle
So thick with coal dust
Coal is related to diamonds
So they say
So they say

Perhaps we are filling
Our chests with treasure
Like Long John Silver
But Blind Pugh was not
The only man
With a black spot

Our lungs are silted up
Like a river on go-slow
Oxygen seeps in tiny increments
Through our air-ways
While we gasp and flounder
Like beached fish

Black lung disease they call it
We get a pension now
If you shone a torch
Into our lungs
Do you think they would glisten
Like black diamonds?



Are you a poet, or a writer?

WOULD YOU LIKE TO WRITE HERE ON HUBPAGES?

Hubpages is a free-to-join on-line publishing site. Publishing your web articles couldn't be easier, and the vibrant on-line community of writers are always ready with helpful tips and advice about writing, publishing and making money on-line. If you haven't yet joined then why not SIGN UP WITH HUBPAGES TODAY?


Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    7 years ago from UK

    Hi DJ Lyons, this poem is one of my favourites of all that I've written, despite the sad subject matter. I've known two, lovely people who died of asbestosis which is quite similar to CWP. It just seems so tragic that the thing that gives you your living might eventually kill you. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • Ask_DJ_Lyons profile image

    Ask_DJ_Lyons 

    7 years ago from Mosheim, Tennessee

    The poem is very soulful and deep! Thank you!

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    8 years ago from UK

    Hi Sumbul, thanks for stopping by and commenting on my poem.

  • profile image

    sumbul 

    8 years ago

    your picture +poem was fabilous

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    8 years ago from UK

    Hi biggins, thank you for the compliments. You're right that smoking is not as bad as working unprotected down a coal mine, but I do hope you get round to quitting at some point as it's not all good news for smokers either. (Sorry to nag, but I've seen what smoking can do at first hand!)

  • biggins profile image

    biggins 

    8 years ago from the living room

    It makes me happy to be a smoker and not a coal miner. Your poem is incredible. I really like you stuff.

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    9 years ago from UK

    Thanks Juliet. As you say, the few suffer for the benefit of the many. Fortunately working practices are much more health and safety concious these days, but we still have a legacy of older miners who have to live with this terrible condition.

  • Juliet Christie profile image

    Juliet Christie Murray 

    9 years ago from Sandy Bay Jamaica

    Great poem but so sad the price these men pay for the comfort of so many.

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    9 years ago from UK

    Hi Mellas

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Black Lung Disease is pretty nasty, and the coal deposits never clear. I don't think many people have heard of it, but at least now, these guys do get a pension.

  • MellasViews profile image

    MellasViews 

    9 years ago from Earth

    I thought it was going to be about smoking at first too. I was like uh-oh, shes gunna point out my mud lungs... but alas.. it had nothing to do with it.... I never even knew about this... insightful; and what a heartfelt poem Amanda.

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    9 years ago from UK

    Well never say never, but meantime, how about some more of yours?

  • countrywomen profile image

    countrywomen 

    9 years ago from Washington, USA

    You do write great poems and inspire so many of us to write poems too. Pleeeeeeaaaaaaaasssssseeee don't give up and treat us to more of your poems :-)

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    9 years ago from UK

    Hi CW

    I suspect that smokers have black, tarry lungs after years of exposure to nicotine, but that's a personal choice, so I guess I have a little less sympathy for them than I do for the miners!

    The poetry challenge has been fun, but I think I'm running out of inspiration. Perhaps poetry is not my thing after all!

  • countrywomen profile image

    countrywomen 

    9 years ago from Washington, USA

    Amanda- To be honest I thought first it was about those smoking then I realized that it was about Coal workers plight. Nice hub to bring awareness and good job on all these poems. Thumbs up.

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    9 years ago from UK

    Hi Ajcor

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I've known a couple of elderly people who have had occupational lung disease. One had asbestosis which was really nasty,and eventually killed him. The other is still around, but has emphysema and some days it's hard to even watch him struggle with his breathing. Thank goodness working conditions are so much better these days.

  • ajcor profile image

    ajcor 

    9 years ago from NSW. Australia

    Brilliant Amanda especially "If you shone a torch Into our lungs Do you think they would glisten Like black diamonds?"

    great clarity and imagery - cheers

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    9 years ago from UK

    I'm sorry to hear that RGraf. I know that miners with this condition now get pensions, but it's little enough compensation for such a cruel disease.

  • RGraf profile image

    Rebecca Graf 

    9 years ago from Wisconsin

    My grandfather was a miner and had this. It was such a hard life.

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    9 years ago from UK

    I must amend that last comment, as I should have said British writers, rather than English!

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    9 years ago from UK

    Hi Writer Rider,

    It's a strange thing, but the voices and accents somehow often come through in the writing, and even I've noticed that some of us English writers such as myself and Paraglider, CJ Stone, London Girl, Bard of Ely and Misty Horizon all have a different 'voice' than many of the other writers here on Hubpages. It would be interesting to make a study of it to find out what the differences are.

  • profile image

    Writer Rider 

    9 years ago

    Very nice. You English have a way with words.

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    9 years ago from UK

    Hi Lita,

    A hub about the mines might be an interesting thing to do. I'd not thought about writing about the coal mines before, being a Southerner myself, but it's not a bad plan. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • profile image

    Leta S 

    9 years ago

    Hi, Amanda--This is the strongest image in the poem, I feel:  While we gasp and flounder /Like beached fish.  And also, just the juxtaposition of coal dust and glistening diamonds.

    This feels something like a song--another thing I was thinking is that it is reminiscent of the poetry when mines were going strong.

    I'd like to hear more about the coal mining villages in Northern England.  It would be interesting to me, since I am American and that isn't something you hear about much  A hub with photos, etc., would be cool.

    Thank you!!!!

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    9 years ago from UK

    Thanks CWB. I like the free form of poetry. Sentiments can be expressed randomly, without the necessity of wrapping them up in neat sentences and paragraphs. It's like a kind of shorthand.

  • profile image

    ColdWarBaby 

    9 years ago

    Poems can be used to record life, to maintain records of what it was like at any given time in history. This has an advantage over the clinical compilations of facts and statistics found in most history texts. Emotion can be expressed through poetry much more readily. You've done a very nice job with this.

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    9 years ago from UK

    Hi Anjali,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. No, it's not specifically for a cause, more something that I've often thought about, and was stirred to write by Lita Sorensen's suggestion of'Dust' as a title in her poetry challenge.

    Having said that, there are many people struggling with breathing difficulties caused by coal-mining , quarrying, and working with asbestos, and many of them do not get the compensation and support that they deserve. It's always good to raise awareness about these people.

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    9 years ago from UK

    Thank you for your kind comments Storytellersrus. As always, it's good to see you here.

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    9 years ago from UK

    Hi Brian,

    Coal mines are apparently a lot more pleasant to work in these days, but they used to be very scary places. I'm sorry to hear about your father's accident. The men that worked those coal-faces in years gone by, were indeed, unsung heroes.

  • anjalichugh profile image

    anjalichugh 

    9 years ago from New York

    Great work Amanda. If this is for a cause, you have my full support. I liked that coal and diamond thing. Thx

  • Storytellersrus profile image

    Barbara 

    9 years ago from Stepping past clutter

    Hello Amanda! I appreciate your work. You are, as always, very original and profound. Thanks.

  • BrianS profile image

    Brian Stephens 

    9 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

    Mines are dangerous places, my late father worked in a mine in the Forest of Dean many years ago and got seriously injured when a cable pulling a loaded coal truck snapped and the flying end caught him. Not a place for the feint hearted and the people who work or worked in that environment, especially when some of the risks were less well understood, deserve support.

  • Amanda Severn profile imageAUTHOR

    Amanda Severn 

    9 years ago from UK

    Hi G-Ma

    Sorry if it's a bit too sombre. I know a few people with lung ailments caused through work (asbestosis and emphysema) and when I saw the suggested title 'Dust' it was the first thing that leapt to mind. I also have family up in the pit villages in the North of England, and I've seen some of the mines close at hand. I can't begin to imagine the conditions the early miners worked in.

  • G-Ma Johnson profile image

    Merle Ann Johnson 

    9 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

    Not such good news here...am glad for the improvements but alas still bad for one...I am so sorry about this...well done poem my dear...G-Ma :o) Hugs & Peace

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com 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: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
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 googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
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)
Marketing
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.
Statistics
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)