The Knockers

miner
Stained glass at Frieburg Cathedral, 1330

 

The Knockers

Buckled-up backbones and crippled-up lungs,
Slag-covered faces and slag-covered tongues,
A long social ladder with negative rungs –
Who’d want to be a miner ?

The pit-pony sappers and donkey-work crews,
Collapses, explosions, and cancerous ooze,
Loyally coughing up union dues –
Who’d want to be a miner ?

Better to sweat in a mill or a diner,
Why, even the farmhands live finer !

Who wants to trudge out for an hour each way,
For a pitch-black and unpaid damn hour each way –
Well, maybe for Orwell, but hardly today,
For much has got better since then –

There’s gadgets that monitor gases, you know,
There’s baths at the pit-head, there’s lights down below,
And children were banished a lifetime ago.
So much has got better since then.

Of course, I’m just an outsider,
So what can I say ?
And yes, I see all of your pride
In your hard-digging day –
But is this your hopes for your kids
When it’s their turn to play ?
From Maerdy to Maltby, from Pittsburgh to Perth –
The sweatshops of Hell in the bowels of the earth.

Much has got better, but much is the same –
It’s ev’ry bit deadly and harsh as they claim,
And given the choice, who would stay in this game ?
Who’d want to be a miner ?

They’re breaking their backs as they’re earning their brass,
And working the hardest of all working class,
To lose out to the North Sea and natural gas.
Who’d want to be a miner ?

Ton after ton till your body is done,
And when will you next see the sun ?

Jet-black the spade-men – yet shining, their eyes,
From the guts of the planet they’re grubbing their prize,
In filthy conditions and filthier skies,
Let’s bring them back into the light.

They’re digging-up carbon from safe in its berth,
They’re warming our hearths as they’re warming our earth,
They don’t need to kill us to show us their worth.
Let’s bring them back into the light.

Of course, I’m just an outsider,
So what do I know ?
And yes, I see all of the pride
That your town has to show –
And were all the pits to close down,
Well then, where would it go ?
For deep underground there lies captured your soul,
With nothing left topside ’cept bleakness and dole.

 

 

I wrote this a few days after Margaret Thatcher died.  As one of the first politicians to take climate change seriously, can we imagine her destruction of the UK coal industry was all to save the planet ?  It certainly didn’t save the communities.

The knockers of the title were spirits in the mines who would knock the walls ominously just before a cave-in.

 

 

A Great British Tradition

beach.jpg

 

A Great British Tradition

The banks all held a holiday, with ev’ryone invited:
These pin-striped bowler-hatted gents were thoroughly delighted
To paddle in the briny sea with crowds of day-trip workers,
And hike the green and pleasant hills and join the mansion-lurkers.
They greeted bakers, plumbers, teachers, ev’ryone from ev’ry measure;
Watched the doctors, taxmen, postmen, ev’ryone about their leisure.
’Cept for those, of course, who had no need for such a lazy day,
Because these reckless banker shits had stolen all their jobs away.

 

 

News Snooze Cues Muse Schmooz

selective focus photography of two orange drinks
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

 

News Snooze Cues Muse Schmooz

I met her in the silly season:
Ace reporter Lisa Leeson –
Met her in the Summer, as it moved from high to late.
She said she newly had the time
For chilling with a gin and lime,
And meeting with a stranger for a secret steamy date.
Until the real news arrived,
She churned-out waffle, faffed and skived,
To dodge the z-list luvvie-spotting at the village fete.
And so we spent the Summertime
Away from wars and wonks and crime,
And nothing went on happening in law and trade and state.

Not a love-nest, romp or threesome,
Just myself and Lisa Leeson,
While the ever-greedy presses must procrastinate –
And so we joined our choice of queues,
With not a thought to check reviews,
For visits to the restaurants, the movies and the Tate.
But Summer changed to Autumn brown,
And cooler breezes teased the town,
And she could hear the calling of the headlines and the hate.
So Lisa Leeson bid farewell,
And broke our silly Summer’s spell
By quitting idle drifting for a world that would not wait.

Skywriting

fisher pen
The Fisher Space Pen

 

Skywriting

Infact, they both used pencils
Up until Nineteen Sixty-Seven,
When a privately-researched pen was announced
And NASA and Cosmonauts quickly renounced
Those flammable, lead-shedding pencils –
Americans first, with Apollo 7.
They should be so proud, that commie space-guys
Are writing with Yankie-most free-enterprise.

 

 

Caveat Emptor

Quentin Massys http://www.tuttartpitturasculturapoesiamusica.com
detail from The Moneylender & His Wife by Quentin Metsys

 

Caveat Emptor

You need saving, I think, you need saving-
I don’t know from what, but you need it, and I got it.
I choose to lease myself as investment in your craving,
(Though nothing gets refunded, as your credit-rating’s rotted.)
You think I look expensive, and you think you can’t afford it:
When your faith is unsecured, and your int’rest rate obsessed.
With all emotions overdrawn, your hope is due an audit –
Now you’re out of guarantee and about to be possessed.

Expensive ?  Me ?  Most surely yes,
And very very dear –
I will cost you ev’ry single thing, and nothing less;
I will cost you all you know, and all that you express:
Your ev’ry laugh and ev’ry scream,
Your ev’ry try and ev’ry guess,
And I will cost your ev’ry lie, and ev’ry truth sincere.
Your ev’ry insecurity and neurologic mess –
They all belong to me, you hear ?
Mine is your perdition, absolution and confess,
Mine the power to repress,
Mine the power to redeem.
I shall be your angel engineer,
To grease your thread and mesh your gear,
And shine your rusting soul with my caress.

You need saving, I think, you need saving-
God knows as from what  –  you don’t know it, but you’ll get it.
I choose to bond myself upon the markets that you’re braving,
Expose my soul to risk until we’re equally indebted.
You think I look expensive as I gilt your fraying edges,
But you’ll enter into contract on my exponential sureties.
My platinum promissory shall underwrite your pledges
As you finally take stock of all your life-assured securities.

Dizzying ?  Me ?  Forever yes,
And very very sheer –
I shall cost you ev’ry single thing that you possess
I shall cost your ev’ry hope, and watch them coalesce.
Your presentide is mine to gleam
Your morrowment is mine to bless
And though I know this terrifies, I’ll help you persevere.
For mine shall be your ev’ry waking thought and sleeping dream,
Mine your ev’ry failing scheme,
Mine your ev’ry sweet success.
Guilt and joy and lust and fear
Cost far more than money mere,
These are how you pay for me, by bushel, peck and ream.
And then, what is more, I press
My darling with an added stress:
For not just shall you suffer this to give your love supreme;
But now you must attend my tear –
For like you, I too revere:
So you must accept the very same from my extreme.
Give my passions safe address,
For we are quartz, my love, and we are steam.