Like a teenage girl loves an older guitarist
with a rough black smudge of eyeliner.
I have built my life on it,
screamed down decades for it,
coal not dole – bared my soul for it
but old women gossip about the pit,
I know the world has had enough of it.
Coal – with its head full of history,
strong arms, filthy engines, heavy,
the small town sex of it.
Broken bodies, white knuckle wives,
the silence of canaries – has risen
from slag heaps and pit heads to thick air
spluttering into anyone born
late with an old miners’ lungs.
I have loved coal but recently,
when I sit in the fresh place built
on the scar of my grandfather’s pit,
I have loved birdsong, greenspace,
the safety and hope of it –
wind turbines, rising white beacons,
sharp armed, slicing clean paths
to a future.