Iron Ore Miner (1859) -V2

Poets post their works-in-progress here for crit and commentary. We want poets who are serious about getting their work published.
Post Reply
Message
Author
FranktheFrank
Posts: 1487
Joined: 02 Mar 2016, 18:07
Location: Between the mountains and the sea

Iron Ore Miner (1859) -V2

#1 Post by FranktheFrank » 08 Jul 2019, 01:32

Iron Ore Miner (1859)

Before Pen y Garn, at Trallwn
we slept in barns and watched our
children grow large eyes.
We gleaned oats spilled by the ponies,
and scavenged from the turnip
slicer set for winter fodder

At Dowlais we walked miles
after five underground, time to dwell
on home and hearth.
The red glow from our fires,
the waft of home cooked cawl,
deep seated in our hearts.

Lean from the chill of the mountain
air, lean from the weariness of ever
present death: a roof fall,
a pony’s stubborn kick,
a careless strike
from a fellow’s axe

Sundays we wake to sunlight
playing on our iron set faces

Rachel cried when Evan went down
to keep the iron doors. Ada will watch
over him, only five and afraid of the dark.
All my boys working, earning their shilling

Strange to see the women:
shimmering sweat
streaked shapes, sirens
flickering in candlelight.

John, my eldest, studies every night,
mathematics, and engines, he'll make
engineer one day and me barely
able to write my name. He learned
the new language and to write
in the old at Sunday school.

I beat that fireman bad. He spoke
sharply to me as I struck the rock,
and me that has seen a flurry of winters
in these hills and felt the bitter
wind whistle through my bones.

Me that ran in Rebecca robes
during the riots and burned
the tolls in '31.
Poor Dic, hanged
for our transgressions,
buried at Aberafan.

We missed transportation,
we changed our names.
Better liars than Australia.
Parch says to leave our families without
support would make us worse than infidels.

The fireman's life hangs by a thread,
if he dies I will follow soon enough.
I cough the rock dust from my lungs,
mixed with red speckled phlegm.

The mine brings us down slowly,
kills us gently, I won't see sixty.
Rachel knows, she puts her gold coins
by. Dai knows I can't keep up
with the younger men.

A lass helped me move a tub today,
lovely with her shining hair by my cap
light. Her breasts heaving with exertion
as she strove to help, her garment
parted to reveal her beauty,
and I was glad .

*****
cawl - stew

parch -pastor

Dai - David

Dowlais - place of the industrial revolution in the UK

Pen Y garn - place of the high rocks, a part of upper Dowlais
a hamlet for limestone quarrymen and iron stone miners

Trallwn - marshy ground - place name of several rural hamlets

Rebecca riots - rural folk rose up in rebellion to burn the toll road barriers
people could not travel to find work unless they could pay for the road toll
the tolls (taxes) were soon repealed by the UK parliament, they did not want
another revolution like America

Fireman - an overseer/foreman employed to burn off gasses and supervise the mining
usually the strongest miner with a brain of his generation

Iron doors - huge metal doors to limit any explosion or poisonous gasses
many children were killed, they worked 12 hour shifts in the dark,
the 1842 act designed to stop the practice, but it went on for years afterwards

Rock dust - more dangerous than coal dust, cuts the lungs to pieces

Dic Pendeyn - hanged for killing a man in the riots, many said he was innocent,
many find him a martyr

Aberafan - village by the seaside, the only parish that would accept Dic's body for burial
his friends carried him 30 miles from Cardiff before they could find a friendly vicar
wiling to bury it in consecrated ground, not that it matters where one is buried,
but it did matter to them

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1192
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Iron Ore Miner (1859)

#2 Post by BobBradshaw » 08 Jul 2019, 22:47

I love the storyteller’s voice. his rhythms and images. What the poem needs is a clear way of flowing the different asides together. Many stanzas feel like standalone short poems, with excellent writing, but they don’t build toward an inevitable close.

References are picked up and dropped—like the son, John. I am not familiar with the ‘31 reference and how it fits into the poem.

Lots of good lines, a lovely voice... now give us a simple, straight forward story line... take out what gets in the way... work on the segues, and you will have a lovely piece

Example of lines I really like:

the weariness of ever
present death: a roof fall,
a pony’s stubborn kick,
a careless strike
from a fellow’s axe

FranktheFrank
Posts: 1487
Joined: 02 Mar 2016, 18:07
Location: Between the mountains and the sea

Re: Iron Ore Miner (1859)

#3 Post by FranktheFrank » 09 Jul 2019, 00:42

Point taken Bob, John studying is part of a larger story,
shall dispense with it.
1831 refers to the Rebecca riots, problem is explaining vs telling,
will have to think.
The myriad details should all build up showing N's life
and one glorious day in all that, quite wicked but nevertheless enthralling.

SivaRamanathan
Posts: 958
Joined: 14 May 2011, 20:30

Re: Iron Ore Miner (1859) -V2

#4 Post by SivaRamanathan » 10 Jul 2019, 22:51

It reads well. Good that you gloss those unknown words. I rather like it.Though as Bob says what you want to hit home,is lost in the narration.

S

FranktheFrank
Posts: 1487
Joined: 02 Mar 2016, 18:07
Location: Between the mountains and the sea

Re: Iron Ore Miner (1859) -V2

#5 Post by FranktheFrank » 11 Jul 2019, 10:20

Thanks Siva, I have attempted to addressed Bob's
concerns in S7 and shown progression. It really
is about the constant hardships, fear of death
and primeval conditions where a man finds comfort
in the beauty of a woman's body and help in the most
unlikeliest of places and thanks his maker for such a revelation.

User avatar
Billy
Posts: 886
Joined: 22 Jun 2006, 10:56

Re: Iron Ore Miner (1859) -V2

#6 Post by Billy » 16 Jul 2019, 18:42

There’s a change after stanza 4 that takes away from the poem. The voice changes and I’m a little confused.I like so much of the poem in pieces.

Post Reply

Return to “Writer's Block - Where The Poets Hang”