Posted by: Ron DuBour | April 24, 2014


Poesy plus Polemics

Mining a Flat Coal Bed near Scranton, PA Photo from Mining a Flat Coal Bed near Scranton, Lackawanna County, PA
Photo from

the mineshafts to deep veins of anthracite
lowered and lifted around the coal clock
countless men who spoke many a tongue
common language was lean willing muscle
in need of an edible paycheck more crucial
than dreams of some pensioned old age
tough and doughty with hands like the iron
they wielded in pickaxes, hammers and chisels
that yielded up underground mountains
of rock to ignite vast steam industries
building our powerhouse nation

these bare-chested coal-blackened hardies
included my proud Polish granddad-in-law
whose Ukrainian bride bore him ten mouths to feed
till the black lung took all that was left of him
so grandma established a small miner’s diner
where chili and burgers sustained them in toil
six days a week with no hourly wage they got
paid for each double-ton cart they heaped high
sixteen tons…

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