Wasteland by Ralph Jones
The land is now all but gone
That our colliery once stood upon
The winding gear has provided its last ride
With only six men inside
Three dismantlers and an overman
And a deputy, or as some call them a fireman
The pit bottom hitcher is the last one in
As the banksman receives the signal, in the pit top cabin.
The lamp room has long since gone
Where once five hundred lamps, on racks were charged upon
The screens and washeries, are now elsewhere
No sign of the men that once worked there.
The manager's office is no more
Not even the plaque, with his name on the door
The plaque made of cheap steel, in the workshop quite near
Is now on someone's wall, as a souvenir
A souvenir of someone's time
Spent in that coal mine
Maybe someone who had spent years on their knees
The only thing given for free
Except for the blue scars on their face, like a war painted savage
Or the heaving chest, that is pneumoconiosis ravaged
Missing digits, missing limbs
All part of a collier's requiem
Outhouse buildings, partly demolished
Rusting worktops, with jobs unfinished
Places, once a hive of activity
Now a place where sheep shelter freely
Sheltering from the wind, rain or snow
In this place, where no one wants to go
This place, where the blacksmiths with muscles bulging
Are now replaced with Zombie like beings, with eyes bulging.
Where no one can see what they do
Not noticing the sheep droppings, crushed under their shoes
Oblivious to the outside world, or so it seems
This place their sanctuary, for their heavy-eyed dreams.
The cage is now resting on its side
No more men will travel inside
And after months of fighting, and living in hope
The pitmen have finally capped their last rope.
Toolbars, that in the workshops were made
Bearing the tools of the collier's trade
Shovels, mandrels and ripping bars
To carry them out, would be too far
Cutters, chocks and panzer chains
Left to deteriorate and rust, never to be seen again
The coal face and the hard headings, no more will we see them
Unless we look, in a mining museum
They say, "we'll build a leisure centre, with a new pool
Or, maybe even a new school"
A school would be nice, where our children we can educate
But the colliery is now demolished, and on the school, we still wait
Two years later, I passed this place, but alas
All that has changed is they have built a small by-pass
And despite all that they said they had planned
The old colliery is still a piece of wasteland
Copyright of Ralph Jones.