Mining Poetry by Joel Tankersley
Man Trip rolling, clacking fishplate and rail,
the methane went off and that started their hell.
Explosion enormous, shockwave it's pass,
rock falls around, then comes the gas.
Beltdrive behind them, stoppings blown out,
ventlation interrupted, "Come on!", one will shout.
Get away from the mains and back towards the panel,
sweat, coal dust, on and old shirt of flannel.
Leave the man trip, lunch buckets behind,
mine rescue teams all this they will find.
Hurry away, escape is cut off,
the beltway, dust thrown, out and aloft.
Another explosion, they wait for another,
crowded together, friends, fathers and brothers.
The smoke starts to roll, silent the creep,
it wanders their way to wrap like a sheet.
Bulkhead in a face, a crosscut alone,
if we can erect it, we might make it home.
Throw up some brattice cloth, bulkhead real tight,
chink up the gaps we might be here all night.
Sweat in the cold, feverish the work,
one said a prayer "hope to gawd this will work."
They sat down behind it and began the long wait,
each man knew his chances, each man knew his fate.
Some took a note and others a chew,
the CO smoke danced, each hour they knew.
No man would panic, not one man was odd.
Each man a coal miner, a coal miner by God
Copyright Joel Tankersley