Monday 26 October 2009

Coalmining by Simon Kewin

Bolted in its room we kept a mountainside
Of black scree waiting in avalanche
Its gradients too steep to clamber
Up to the distant square of the hatch
Where men, strength bowed by the weight of the rocks,
Lugged upon their supplicating backs,
Poured thunder into the hungry dark
And took away as limp bodies, the sacks

You rasped the shovel’s tongue in at its base
Let the mass of the mountain do the work
Rock rumbled forward to heal the erosion
While, two-handed, you heaved up the load
The nuggets gleaming, sleek with treacle,
Be careful not to drop any on the rug
But you threw it the last foot into the flames
For the satisfaction of the crunch and wumph

The stunned fire smoking pencil-grey
Then roaring back to hungry life, the
Alchemy of the rocks a miracle, lighting
To faces that peer from the glow
While we, heliocentric, return to our orbits
Bask in the heat of carboniferous suns
Arrayed as planets and the moons of planets,
Huddled in pairs for the passing warmth.

Simon Kewin, Herefordshire, UK


Crafty Green Poet said...

Simon writes fiction, poetry and computer software, although usually not at the same time. His fiction has appeared in Nemonymous, Here & Now, Abyss & Apex, Albedo One, Redsine, Quantum Muse, Kimota, F/SF and Deep Magic, amongst others. His short story Museum Beetles was given an honourable mention in The Year’s Best Science Fiction #23.

He has had poetry published in a variety of magazines including Cadenza, Voice and Verse, Helicon, The Affectionate Punch, 12th Planet and Sepia.

He lives deep in rural Herefordshire (in the UK) with Alison and their two daughters Eleanor and Rose.

Karen said...

As one whose ancestors mined the hills of West Virginia, I feel the weight and the heat of this. Great work.

Kat Mortensen said...

It may be my Nova Scotia coal-mining heritage, or the fact that I just watched the U.S. film, "North Country", but I fell for the illusion (or allusion, if you will) all the way until the "careful..." line.
What a brilliant poem!

Simon Kewin said...

Hi Karen and Poetikat,

Many thanks for your comments and I'm glad you enjoyed the poem.