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Coalmines Are Mine Disasters

Even If They Don’t Cave In


How many coalminers toiled

near the dwindling Sherwood Forest

to feed the furnaces of Industrial Revolution’s juggernaut? 

How could 12th century Robin Hood have foreseen

the coalmines of late 19th century Nottingham,

where D.H. Lawrence’s coalminer father came home

from work poignant as Blake’s sooty chimneysweeps? 

Miners as tragic as those child labor minors. 

And all those generations of coalminers

dying of “black lung” or dying in cave-ins! 

Coalminers who should have been

soul miners mining their souls,

mind miners mining their minds,

for treasures more precious

than coal turned under eons of pressure into diamonds. 

And diamond miners no less poignant picking diamonds

instead of cotton in the subterranean slavery of apartheid.