Bob Gibson

Rookie (25 April 1946 / Billingham County Durham)

Eyes Cry Black - Poem by Bob Gibson

At fourteen years old, he went down the mine
Like his Dad before him, it was his time
He was issued, with a hat and a lamp
Way below ground its hot and its damp

Drilling the coal face eight hours a day
Coming home black, with a pittance of pay
Muscles aching from squatting so low
Following the coal seam a mile below

A billy of tea, bread an some cheese
Coal dust in lungs it makes a man sneeze
Old miners cough blood, there lungs are shot
More tea here son, I'll empty the pot

I look at these men, a life underground
The drill and the shovels, are the only sound
I looked in there eyes, through a Davy lamps gleam
A cage dead canary has made a man scream

Coal gas has entered through a crack in the wall
All it needs is a spark, that's the end of us all
The shafts ventilated, there's no need to fear
We'll be o.k. when we get the all clear

These men are as hard, as the coal i belive
Coal wagons full! come on lads heave!
The pit ponies are blind but they know every stride
When a wagon breaks loose they've got nowhere to hide

A pit prop it breaks leaving trapped men below
Tons of rock fall, we've got to dig slow
We'll prop as we go, its our only way out
I think I'm done for i, heard a man shout

The workings came down, with a thunderous roar
I never saw that boy any more
That night in my bed when I hit the sack
That's when a miner's eyes cry black!


Comments about Eyes Cry Black by Bob Gibson

  • (5/12/2011 9:51:00 AM)


    Such remarkable imagery Bob.. I could feel a lump forming in my throat as I read this.. These men that work so hard deserve all the praise and recognition we can give... Truly An Amazing Read.

    Wendy :)
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  • (11/14/2009 10:17:00 AM)


    A few minor spelling/punctuation mistakes are nowhere near enough to hold back this excellent poem. (Report) Reply

  • (7/4/2009 4:23:00 PM)


    Bob my friend, What an outstanding piece...You captured this image to perfection....remarkable poet 10+++ (Report) Reply

  • (12/28/2008 10:01:00 PM)


    A nice piece of work, you seem to like rhyming couplets.
    Many of my family were pitmen, working in 18' seams, so this brought back some of the stories they told me.

    Love, Irene
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/28/2008 11:18:00 PM)


    This hits home... My best friend's brother was killed in a mining accident in W.V. It's a painful reality the world must sometimes face, and those men aren't given enough credit for their service! This is a well-written, nicely flowing poem. I enjoyed it a lot. :) (Report) Reply

  • Frank James Ryan Jr...fjr (4/18/2008 1:11:00 AM)


    Stunning work, here, Bob...Resplendent depiction, and imagework. Tight, crisp, and mellifluous structuring....intriguing theme....Solid Crafting!

    ~ FjR ~
    ..2008..
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/17/2008 5:34:00 AM)


    ...such accidents occur many times tolling the lives of so many...
    well composed..a very sensitive and touching tribute to the coal miners
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Poem Edited: Saturday, June 13, 2009


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