UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Miners by Alun Rees

(last shift at Tower Colliery)
They were slaughtered at Senghenydd,
at Cilfynydd, Porth and Maerdy.
Where miners went Death went as well,
and he was never tardy.

He was dead on time at Abercarn,
when his hands were rarely redder.
Whenever he was dead on time
miners were even deader.

He killed with gas and killed with fire,
or slowly killed with torture.
He planned his long-term murders with
the patience of a Borgia.

For many a miner longing for
retirement growing roses
found his last years a martyrdom
to pneumoconiosis.

Most cruel of all was Aberfan
where Death dealt devastation
to hopes and dreams by wiping out
the younger generation.

And just as things were looking up
with Death pushed back apace
along came Thatcherwoman bent
on wrecking in his place.

Where Death wrecked whole communities
by blowing men to bits
she simply plunged them into grief
by closing down the pits.

But here’s the thing: at Tower the men
did something more than hoping.
They used their wits, their strength, their faith
to keep their colliery open.

Now Tower’s coal has had its day
but the men have had theirs as well.
They chose their clocking-off time themselves
and Thatcher could go to hell.