Angela Wybrow

(Salisbury, Wilts, UK)

Dole Not Coal


Once these men all mined for coal,
But now these men are on the dole.
With rent to pay and mouths to feed,
An anxious life these men now lead.

Spending more time at home indoors,
Leads to boredom and domestic wars.
For these men, life is now lean –
They’ve got no money and no routine.

Mining coal was all that they knew –
What life holds in store, they haven’t a clue.
Now it’s a case of make-do and mend;
The situation, they can’t comprehend.

Each day at work, they had a purpose –
Now they’re redundant and they’re surplus.
Each working day, they’d work together,
Having a laugh and a good old blether.

Once these men all earned a wage,
But now these men are full of rage.
Every day, for jobs they queue,
But there’s only jobs for very few.

They’d arrive back home with blackened faces,
After hours spent in the darkest of places.
Now these men see hours of light,
But now these men are a sorry sight.

Having left their life of dirt and grime,
One or two have turned to crime.
But most are respectable, honest men,
Who miss their jobs and miss their friends.

Now the camaraderie has all but gone,
And these lonely souls just soldier on.
All they can do is wait for the day,
When luck once more will come their way.

Submitted: Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Edited: Wednesday, March 05, 2014

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Poem about the pit closures of the 80s and 90s.

Comments about this poem (Dole Not Coal by Angela Wybrow )

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  • Guy Lip-more (4/5/2014 5:19:00 PM)

    Excellent write, You sum up the once proud people with dignity and respect, then the other end of the spectrum with utter hopelessness. Simple but powerful write. (Report) Reply

  • Karen Sinclair (3/5/2014 5:32:00 AM)

    This is so descriptive honest and powerful in that honesty. They had a tough dangerous life but they had respect and self respect. Now they suffer mentally I think. I saw a documentary where there was a major pit disaster in Wales where 200 men got trapped and died and the pit owners docked part of their wages as they didn't finish a full shift. How would their families of felt. Sorry j went off on a tangent but I was distressed. A great study of human nature (Report) Reply

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