@MattAbbottPoet

@MattAbbottPoet
Image © Copyright Amy Charles Media 2014

18 Dec 2015

Kellingley Colliery (1965-2015)



Every day as usual -
before the birds had cleared their throats -
he'd wake in a room,
dark as most ever see,
and creak to the kitchen:
four sugars,
in his pint of tea.

The Deputy does not carry coal,
but a burden just as heavy:
he's to head in first,
with his lamp and his nerve,
and satisfy his judgement

that without a single
doubt to shirk
the pit is fit
for lads to work.

Only, in those last days,
he need only be half awake,
as he trudged down
a well worn path,
with the frame of
the colliery
emerging as a
silhouette.

No need to check the mine.
He couldn't get past the picket.
But still, he'd have to phone his gaffer;
reporting in for vacant duty.

Day in, day out, day in, day out:
just as usual.

Lads he loved like brothers,
after years of risking life and limb,
united on the picket line;
where chance of work
was less than slim.

He'd to stand there,
and watch them:
either broken, or breaking,
or stone cold
silent.

His Deputy uniform
useless.
His authority
powerless.
His verdict:
hopeless.

And they sent in
all these coppers.
Shipped in
from elsewhere;
Nottingham,
or London,
or somewhere else
irrelevant.

And he could only watch
in disgust
as they taunted the
picketing miners;
wafting notes
that floated on
laughter,
as though they were
prodding a caged up
animal.
As though they were
prodding
a caged up
animal.

It was so much more
than a job.
It was so much more
than a career.
It was his life;
his pride,
and his honour.
Communities,
and livelihoods:

being torn apart
before his eyes
by those employed
to serve and protect us.

To my Granddad,
George,
it was on that day
that the mines
had closed forever.

This was no longer
the industry
that he chose to invest
his life in.

The vultures were circling
and hacking away;
ripping flesh
like coal from the earth,
as full grown men
sobbed
like toddlers.

And today,
at the Kellingley Colliery,
we see our final
closure.
Deep coal mining
condemned
to history.
Thousands of lives
now betrayed
and abandoned.
Thousands of existences
struck off
as stories.

It's a sad day
for the country.
It's a sad day
for the region
It's a sad day
for the industry.

It's a sad day.

Kellingley Colliery:
1965
to
2015.


My Granddad, George Abbott, in the orange



2 comments:

  1. Good day for the environment though

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're still burning coal 7 mlies down the road at Selby; it's just that they're importing it from abroad at lesser expense.

      Delete