Saturday, May 2, 2015

On a Certain Lady's Suggestion that All Miners Should Be Kept Underground

Oh, stable stalwart hapless wight.
Know that a certain lady
Would banish thee from God's daylight,
Far from her much exalted sight,
Within thy workplace shady.

"Much trouble," say's our dainty foe.
"Could so wise be averted,
The filthy fellows kept below."
And why not let their families go!
Then all would be diverted.

No need for them to be seen
Outside their working place,
They pass my gates and spoil the scene,
Their raucous voices sound obscene,
And, oh! What dirty faces.

Thus comrades, would I humbly ask,
Thy pardon for my action,
Though silence is a simple mask,
The thoughts are mine, and mine the task,
To seek for satisfaction.

Then lady to thy human plea,
Wouldn't read a humble letter!
Our ideals, true, might disagree.
But chivalry remains with me
To say thine are the better.

But since unburdening thy mind
With weighty words expounding
The vileness of the miner kind
I hope that you will be resigned
To see the ball rebounding.

The air is free the sun, the sky,
God's gift to all bestowing,
He made the ant, the butterfly,
Both live their lives, yet one can die
Without the other knowing.

The butterfly in languid ease,
Evades the shadowed places,
The sunlight simmering on the trees
Kissed by each sensuous wand'ring breeze,
Is where its course it traces.

And as the red glow fires the west,
It scans its meted measure
In listless languor, deep depressed,
Its gaudy wings at last find rest,
It lives and dies for pleasure.

The lowly ant in toiling hast
Ne'er stops to gaze about it,
Scant time has it to work or waste
Its love of fresh air's not a taste,
It cannot live without it.

By "Rhymer," circa 1922

From Black Faces and Tackety Boots by Wilma S. Bolton, "The above poem illustrates the contempt of the upper classes for the miner. It was written after a Larkhall 'lady,' irritated by the colliers passing her gate as they went to and from their work, made the suggestion that it would be better if they could stay underground and not come up."

No comments:

Post a Comment