Bowers Row Second-hand Memories
Although shut pits no longer spit their
Packed-grit, black, thick-slack phlegm from
Hacked pick-carved sun-starved bronchioles
Deep in the high-spine Pennines' pulsing chest,
Green-seeded heaps of spoil-hill snot still blot
The gang-scraped Yorkshire landscape
And make me hark back second-hand
To an almost-unremembered past when dad,
A flat-capped gap-toothed lad, was shipped off
To one of his dozens of cousins who culled coal
At Bowers Row in thirties' raw austerity
To learn a lesson of what life might be
If he would not apply himself assiduously at school.
Meningitis and the tide of war perhaps prevented
This apprentice painter from the pit's pull but
Maybe the visit did its bit to re-inspire him.
At Bowers Row, spring flowers grow now
Where all was soot-stained grey but there may
Still be some pale remembrance of a lad,
My dad, who made his one descent inside the mine,
Confined close-coffined in a pit-cage for a day.