Modern Poetry | Commuting to Work

Modern Poetry | Commuting to Work. Inspired by my work at Rufford Colliery in Nottinghamshire, the short prayer is to the 13 men who were killed at the bottom of the shaft in 1913.  It was a good experience to work with men who were the ‘salt of the earth’ winning the coal. Rufford was a two level mine and the 1st level was called the High Hazel and the lower the Low Main. It is now, like many mines closed.

The Cage

Last cigarette
Draw Lamp, leaving tally.
Lamp on helmet
Check lamp.
Walk to cage
Ventilation wind.
Rushing in
Cage opens.
Smell of coal
Fear perhaps.
And men’s breath
And other things.
They do
Hand banksman tally.
‘Eh up mi Duck’
Into cage.
Men usually silent, laugh
Men usually laughing, silent.
Noticed this before
Aircraft doors opening.
Before parachute exit
No red on here.
Cage closes
And drops.
Suspended by a wire
Walls rushing past.
Stomach protesting
Still men jesting.
Lamps on
Remembering men.
Killed at the bottom
Flash of light
Passing level one.
Blackness again
Cage slowing to halt.
Bouncing to bright light
White painted walls.
Wind rushing in
To circulate.
Queue of laughing
Tired men, whites of eyes.
Flashing through black
Greetings and calls.
Waiting to surface
Cigarette, shower and Pub.
For many, then home to sleep
Before the next shift.

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