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.