Those Mines

Those mines ruled my world.
The coal mines of Southern Illinois.

My family came from,
the Tennessee mountains.
to dig in those mines.

They fought the Civil war and died.
They farmed and mined.
They sang, fought and prayed.

Working men breathing that dust,
killing themselves every day,
and drinking it away at night.

Union men from Lewis day,
beating scabs to death.

Living in coal mine camps,
those little towns today.

Every morning, down the hole,
every evening drink some more.

The bar b ques,, and parades.,
the strikes, and bar fights,

Threats on the phone,
“We’ll kill your wife,”
Now, there’s a gun by the bed.

Every business bowed to coal,
every man worked it somehow.

Till the day coal died,
and those mines closed down.

Spelling the death of the little town,
and the life they knew.


(Photograph of an old mine in Southern Illinois near the Mississippi River)

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