Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Walking Home

A long day working in the pit
Knowing that we've done our bit
Cough and spit, cough and spit
As we are walking home 

We're tired but we've done our job
We've done it all for just five bob
Don't cry, my children, don't you sob
'Cos we are walking home

Blackened like the dark of night
A bath waits by the warm fire light
Once that's done we'll feel alright
When we've done walking home

Seems ages since I've eaten owt
It's like sandpaper on me throat
A beer or two'll get me vote
But we're still walking home

Just one spark; that's all it took
All the mine and village shook
We escaped by pure blind luck
Now we are walking home

Where are Herbert and his lads?
All those kids without their dads
It's well beyond just feeling sad
'Cos they're not walking home

Choked by firedamp, blown to bits;
Burnt and charred in a fiery blitz
It's enough to make you lose your wits
But we're still walking home

Thinking of our brothers, lost,
into their fate casually tossed 
By owners that don't know the cost
For they are driving home

Their mining life came to an end
Husband, father, brother, friend
And now their weary way they wend
Forever walking home

Tim Fellows May 10th 2018

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

30 Years On

(For the 30th Anniversary of the National Coal Mining Museum of England)

There is a hole in Yorkshire,
And extraction of earth,
Of rock,
Of grit,
Of coal,
Of King Coal,
Of Yorkshire coal.
But the king was dethroned,
His subterranean palace
Thrown over,
Thrown open to the people,
Hurriers of their heritage,
Guided by miners
Hewing history
For telling tales:
“How many men work down a pit?
About half!”
Making an exhibition of themselves,
Of their ways and wisdom and words
On tongues savoured with coal dust.

A score and ten
Since the men marched back
To carry their lamps down
Illuminating faces,
And facets
And fossils
So keen eyes,
The public eye,
 Can see
What might have been left buried,
Painting coal streaked portraits
Of how it was
For so long,
For three decades now
And winding on.

Hope came to Caphouse,
Democracy of memory
So this industry,
These lives lived
Above ground,
And below ground,
In absolute darkness,
In the absolution of light,
Are not lost
In grassed over spoil heaps of time past.

This hole in Yorkshire,
For the whole of Yorkshire,
For the whole of England…
This hole! This HOLE!
Is mine!

Dave Alton