Black Christmas

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Black Christmas


Fifty fucking years

this black snow’s fallen

every Christmas.

It fell on my father

and his father before him.


Stepping out

into the grey December light

cold and tired.

Home to a bath

and the warm hearth

of family.


A bond of men

tighter than brothers,

thicker than blood,

darker than midnight.


All gone now,

like dinosaurs


beneath the earth

waiting to be found

by future generations



why and how

it died

when its heart

was big

and beating

and its bones

were strong.


We come to the surface

singing and defiant

and our communities

shudder for the past.


We will find work

or we will join the queues


and  at the new year,

if you can find one,

remember to

leave a black nugget

of coal on the doorstep

for strangers…

death of communitykellingleylast deep coal mineminerspit closure

◄ Herod



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John Coopey

Tue 22nd Dec 2015 12:29

Powerful, indeed, Ian.
I am a bit more ambivalent about it these days. The industry was good to me for 20+ years (still is if I count the pension) and it was easy to fall in love with it.
On the other hand it was the fervent wish of every mother that "no son of mine is going down the pit". And we are conflicted these days by a sadness that the pits have gone with a recognition that we have got to abandon dirty fuels if we want a world for our grand kids.

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M.C. Newberry

Sat 19th Dec 2015 17:42

The passion and presentation deserve the accolades.
For myself, I am intrigued about the "romancing" of an
occupation that has close connections with burying
oneself beyond the light. Surely no man would have
willingly chosen to mine the earth had there been other
means of obtaining a living? Men were not designed to
burrow like moles.

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Martin Elder

Sat 19th Dec 2015 15:05

I agree with what has already been said regarding this poem . I love the rhythm and flow of it especially with lines like. A bond of men,tighter than brothers,thicker than blood,darker than midnight.
Fabulous stuff Ian

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sat 19th Dec 2015 13:08

An excellent work, full of depth and passion, expressed with a creative finesse - even if you hate that word. Such style still crosses boundaries, and surely, that is your intent.

The ending is superb, fantasy and truth flung against each other head-on, challenging which is which.

You are such an enigma, a fascinating man. Just keep writing in your own powerful way. Merry Christmas.

P.S. I do sometimes wonder if you have any idea what I'm talking about. Because I'm not always sure that I do myself.

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Graham Sherwood

Fri 18th Dec 2015 23:22

A gritty poignancy in this Ian.
I like the fossilisation comparison of the dinosaurs/miners/coal itself.
Your analogy works incredibly well 5th stanza particularly.
It has dignity too.

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