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,
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.
Postpones calamity today,
For today is all that he has,
And getting the coal out,
Is what he does...today.
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.
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.
Is intensified beyond understanding,
Except for maybe a combat soldier,
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,
As we watch our children sleeping,
And we wonder,
If today will be the day.
Some resort to drink,
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...
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,
Who have in one way or another,
Been taken by the mines.
And so we wait,
Our time is coming.