1585: End of Shift

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This is my digging hand
at those exhausted seams
turned dust to dust
in my late soundless hour

to prop whatever up –
perhaps underpinnings
beneath presses of kilonewtons
into compressed layers

All this darkness was once painted –
as if in tar –
by a Welshman’s guided tour
through an exhausted mine –

it saw my hard-hat lamp-dim
and my eyesight drop
to where my father’s coughed up
black blood stuck – fool’s gold

Other dead men stand
in a wall-mounted photograph –
to tell of them and others who went to dig
at that hand-bared stuff

I will sit alone – propped by this revisiting hour
as my recall waits for sleep
to take me from my tunnelling


Thanks to Helen Ivory @nellivory for suggestions via National Writing Centre @WritersCentre

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