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The price of coal

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What is the price of coal?

The web has sites that quote 

a market rate, but if you scroll

all through the list you won’t

see figures with the least, remote

affinity to price of coal.


What is the price of coal?

A mine roof caving in?

The dread Black Lung Disease that stole

the lives of countless men?

The destitution of their kin?

Is that the price of coal?


What is the price of coal?

There’s bird reserves to explore

and reed beds ripple in open-cast holes,

but global hunger soars  

and the land will yield a crop no more.

A heavy price for coal?


What is the price of coal?

Abandoned workings flood

and non-stop pumps attempt control

of dregs that would exude

to run the brooks the red of blood.

A tolerable price for coal?


What is the price of coal?

Wildfire occurrence grows,

ice-sheets break up at the poles

and ski slopes pine for snow.

The debts accrue but no one knows

the future price of coal.


What is the price of coal?

A transient flash of flame

ensured we’ll likely miss our goal

of keeping climate tamed

and people who don’t yet have names

will pay the price of coal.


coalcoal miningfossil fuels

◄ How long will we have to wait?

Teapot ►


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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Mon 12th Jun 2023 23:18

Well bugger me!
who’d a thowt it?
Reet complicatid innit!
'eat rises,
on' draws in cool air
from t’ bottom,
uz rises wiv warmer air,
uz falls
as it cools!
a tent,
wiv 'oles at t’bottom!
on' aw've nor evun bin t' Uni!

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John Coopey

Mon 12th Jun 2023 22:54

Excellent poem, Tim. I worked in the coal industry for over 20 years and it's been good to me - I was paid well and get a good pension from it now. But I have ambivalent feelings towards it, recognising the damage fossil fuels do the the futures of our unborn.

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Bethany Sallis

Mon 12th Jun 2023 21:58

Nothing less than an excellent and spot on the money poem Tim

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Tim Ellis

Mon 12th Jun 2023 21:52

Thanks Stephen & Uilleam. Yes, in the UK I think we use more power keeping warm in the winter than cooling our buildings in summer, but that’s not the case in much of the world which will need better designed buildings to avoid the need for air conditioning as the climate heats up.

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Stephen Gospage

Mon 12th Jun 2023 15:09

A fine poem, Tim. Your conclusion 'people who don't yet have names will pay the price of coal' is spot-on and chilling (metaphorically, that is!).
Uilleam's slice of lunacy also hits the mark. Burning more coal because it's too hot....Doh!

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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Mon 12th Jun 2023 12:38

Thank you Tim.
I've just seen an article in the Guardian:

“UK heatwave prompts order to fire up coal plant to meet aircon demand. National Grid asks for Ratcliffe-on-Soar plant to go on standby as Britons cope with 30C temperatures”.

What absolute lunacy- for God’s sake just open the windows and drink more water!
On second thoughts, no-the power companies wouldn’t make as much money if we did that!

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