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Frank P Whyte

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Books by Frank P Whyte
  Into the Black
by Frank P Whyte
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Rated "G" by the Author.

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           >> View all 318

Into the black they go,
For another day in the mines.
Who can know their spirits,
So heavily laden with fear?
And so it is,
Which rules the day.
For the sheer volume of earth above,
Trancends any human effort to control it.

Crews of eight board the man-trip cars,
And ride the rails ever inward,
Ever downward,
Where day is night,
And the air is heavy and unmoving,
And the humidity hangs thick,
As water seeps from above.
The heat begins the process,
Of draining the life from our bodies.
Your days are numbered, young man,
For sooner or later,
The mine will sign your epitaph.

The mining machine,
Like some prehistoric beast,
Chews the coal from the face,
With its carbide tipped roller.
The operator,
Ever vigilant,
Postpones calamity today,
For today is all that he has,
And getting the coal out,
Is what he
But like everyone else underground,
He dreams of a life above,
In the sunshine,
But his livelihood grows underground,
And he knows that there is no way out.

The buggy approaches the miner's tail,
As it spews forth its booty.
The driver changes direction in his seat,
Operating the conveyor
Until his buggy is full,
And he can race away
From the face,
And imminent danger,
For several short moments.
But he will return again,
After he has sent his hold upward,
And he is already considering the trip.

Roof bolts
Tie the ceiling together,
Or at least that is the hope.
And if a crew member is to be crushed,
It will likely be the bolter's helper,
Out there on his own,
As his partner drills,
Protected by distance,
And armored steel.
And paranoia,
Is intensified beyond understanding,
Except for maybe a combat soldier,
Under fire,
From superior forces,
An army of one.

And so it goes,
That a day without death,
A day of waiting for death.
We kiss our wives goodbye,
And linger,
As we watch our children sleeping,
And we wonder,
If today will be the day.

Some resort to drink,
But more
Return to God,
Their ally in this fool's game.
And we try to live each day,
As if it were to be our last,
And for some it will be;
But perhaps death will be alone,
Out of sight of the national media,
As that last breath is gasped for,
But not received...
Black Lung.

But for those who can,
They board the man-trip,
Fresh battery clipped to the belt,
Bright light clamped to a filthy hard hat.
One hand carries a lunch pail,
Bearing gifts from those who love us,
And the other,
A jug of water.
And we descend again,
As we see in each other's eyes,
A thousand yard stare,
That once again considers,
A fate that may be waiting,
And the burden of generations of our brothers,
And fathers, and cousins,
And friends,
Who have in one way or another,
Been taken by the mines.

And so we wait,
And know,
That yes,
Our time is coming.


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Reviewed by Andre Bendavi ben-YEHU

It is a pleasant moment to read a poem of the magnitude of
"Into the Black". It is an emotional informative poemization of
reality, courage and willingness.

"Into the Black" was written in free form, but its rhythm, contents
and message metricize the rhyme of life, and add value to the glowing pages of Poetry.

Thank You, Poet - for showing us what poetic excellence means - and
for enriching the Major Art and the American Fine Letters.

May You enjoy a long creative life through a blissful living.

In gratitude and admiration,

Andre Emmanuel Bendavi ben-YEHU
Reviewed by Chrissy McVay
I agree with Retta, very chilling, but I'm so glad someone wrote a tribute to them.
Reviewed by Retta (Reindeer) Mckenzie
So very well written, this is chilling and so very poignant, they are brave men indeed. outstanding.

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