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Poems from Francis Kerr Young
Coal Miners


West Virginia Poetry Society Category - 1st Place (Coal Miners)
a villanelle
 
Deep in the dark, tunnelling like a mole,
and miles above are blue mountains and trees.
Digging out tons of West Virginian coal,
 
chancing black lung and coal damp in that hole,
miners sweat away their lives on their knees
deep in the dark, tunnelling like a mole.
 
Instead of cool morning mists to extol
this clean land, ebon dust just makes one sneeze,
digging out tons of West Virginian coal.
 
Hills echo calls; finch, wren, and oriole,
yet caged canaries sing sweet as you please
deep in the dark.  Tunnelling like a mole,
 
the miner slaves to his stern master, ol'
King Coal, carving that seam into a frieze
digging out tons of West Virginian coal.
 
Pit props creaking must crush each miner's soul:
Courage for a dollar all the time he's
deep in the dark, tunnelling like a mole,
digging out tons of West Virginian coal!

Francis Kerr Young reciting poem in 2003
[Francis Kerr Young reading this poem in 2003]


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