George Howard (14.02.53 / Pontefract (Broken Bridge) , UK)
A Miner Retired
Oh to hear again the early morning call,
See the dawn breaking in the distant sky,
The soft tread down the hall 'n' out the door.
The 'Tick! Tick! ' of the bicycle wheel, at the start of the journey.
The fresh clean air of the new morn'.
The greeting chorus, of larks and blackbirds,
Down the quiet hush of the lanes, head held high, breathing deeply,
Meeting a colleague, a friend, a blood brother, with a cheery grin,
The feeling of warmth of belonging, as we rode side by side.
Down the long straight roads, milling with crowds,
Towards the tall, black, cobweb like structure.
Its wheels spinning on and on eternally, we thought!
Catching the quips, the banter, the cheeky remark, 'n' throwing them back.
Hurrying up the steps to the welcoming buzz of machinery,
Again the banter, a friendly punch, a handshake, a smile,
A smile, white as pearl, against the dust blackened face.
An exchange of duties, an exchange of life's events.
The first squad of men, cheerful and loud, a noise of men, for men.
The cage snapping shut, a cheer and a wave,
Shouts of 'bloody Mondays! ' and 'first one! ' and 'and last! ”
A 'twelve shift' over, a job well done.
Tired and hungry, but a feeling of satisfaction,
Greeting the next shift, the wheels run on and on.
Leaving the long lane, partings, a farewell, “see you tomorrow! '
The key in the latch, the door opens the smell and the warmth of cooking pours through.
A meat pie, potatoes, custard and apple pudding,
Smiles from the loved ones, all excited and proud,
The slippers warm and ready, the kettle on the boil.
Oh where have the days gone? I miss them so much!
My days now of bingo, full of silence and loss,
No more the fierce banter, the friendship, the pride.
It seems I’ve stopped living, just dead inside!
A tribute to my father, and to my dear father in law, now so sadly missed, and to all those miners who worked so hard in an industry lost.
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