Friday, April 9, 2010

Waiting and Praying

If you know what the picture to the right is, then you probably have done some caving, or you know a family member who worked in the mines.

In the old days this type of carbide lamp was used on a hat. Water was put in the top portion, and carbide was held in another part of the lamp. The water dripping caused a chemical reaction, a gas was formed, and a striker ignited it for light.

I saw my lamp in the wood shop yesterday, and then thought of the miners dead and trapped in West Virginia. I know that you will join me in prayers for them and their families. As of today they have checked one safe place without finding the remaining miners, and are drilling another shaft to insert a camera.

My heart goes out to the families, and my prayers are for their comfort and that more lives will be saved.

You may have read this poem before, but I think it is appropriate for today and this time.

Hard Lessons

Daddy said the first day on the job you learn the rules.

If your lunch bucket gets left topside you’re out of luck
unless the next team brings it down, and if the roof starts
to fall, YOU RUN. You run like Billy-be-damned for daylight.
You don’t stop for nothin.

You run like the devil hisself is breathing that cold, damp,
black air down your neck. You run for the shaft
or the outside as fast as you can.

If you ain’t used up all your luck and you make it to daylight
then you can turn around and look who’s behind you, then
you wait for the count and see who’s not.

That day the bell-rock almost got Daddy, blowed his hat off,
he come home after the siren, stood in the door of our house
on the Big Sandy, white eyes staring from his black face.

Then he come over to me and slapped me hard.
I could see the tears makin creeks on his cheeks,
and he pointed his finger at me and whispered,
”Dammit Boy, you ain’t never goin in a mine.”

Robert W. Kimsey

1 comment:

  1. This poem reminds me of my Daddy. He worked in the mines before unions and even mining timbers to hold up roofs. He crawled and dug with a pick. He said one time he went 9 mos. and didn't see daylight. He went in the mines before sun up and stayed in til after nightfall. It was during the depression.. He looked older then (in his 20's) then he did when I knew him in his 60's.