This poem  is dedicated to my late grandfather who worked down a coalmine in Scotland in the days when coal was carted out by pony and cart. It is 100% fact and eventually became a song.


Twelve hours working blacker than black.

Digging black coal lying flat on his back.

The sound of steel and rock and his dust-filled breath.

He know that what he does will bring an early death.

There isn’t any other way.

Providing for his family sees him there each day.

Black coal.

Out of the black come the moving red glows.

Body more ravaged than he wants to know.

The wear and tear in the whites of his eyes

Sting from light of day as he stares at the skies

Didn’t get to spend too much time in the sun.

I think he died when he was sixty one.

Black Coal.

No union man is going to help with his way.

He’s in the bosses pocket. Still the same today.

He walked his dogs and he sang with the birds.

I can still hear his every word.

Sitting by the fire fueled by the black coal.

That took his life but couldn’t take his soul.

Black Coal.