Down in the mines (traditional).


Come all you young fellows so young and so fine,
And seek not your fortune way down in the mine,
It’ll form as a habit and seep in your soul,
Till the stream of your blood turns as black as the coal.

For it’s dark as the dungeon, and damp as the dew,
The dangers are double and the pleasures are few,
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines,
It’s as dark as the dungeon ‘way down in the mines.

There’s many a man that I’ve known in my day,
Who has lived just to labour his whole life away,
Like a fiend with his dope or a drunkard his wine,
A man would give all for the lure of the mine.


I hope when I die and the ages shall roll,
That my body will blacken and turn into coal,
Then I’ll look from the door of my heavenly home,
And I’ll pity those miners a’ diggin’ my bones.


Tuesday Poem


About paparoa

Writer and researcher.
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4 Responses to Down in the mines (traditional).

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Wow, this is a moving poem, Jeffrey. The rolling rhythm and the chant-like use of a chorus really brings the poem home, so to speak. An admirable choice of subject. Thanks for posting!

  2. Jeffrey Paparoa Holman says:

    Yes, and we don’t know who wrote it, which is why it is “traditional” – but somebody had to. It’s well known where I come from.

  3. Eileen Moeller says:

    I especially like the last stanza. A fitting tribute to the miners who just died. Coal mining is such an awful and dangerous task. I don’t think Earth likes us taking her fossil fuels!

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