Inspired by the images by Jane Cornwell and John Law
This small, soft hand, bath-cleaned
of sticky treats and all the business of a summer day–
mud-castle building, caterpillar catching, and treasure digging.
Like Daddy, as his pretend pick strikes the dirt.
And her heart lurched,
fluttered a canary-winged warning.
Not my son,
his cheeks sun-glowed, his nose freckled,
his deposition sunny,
not life-etched grey with
coal-tattooed lungs that rattled–
the darkness, dirt, and danger,
not for my son, the estranging underground life.
He will hear the blackbird sing,
and in the dappled light, he’ll dream.
A poem for Day 21 of Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge. Today Paul is dedicating the challenge to the memory of poet Dai Fry. You can see all of the art and read the poems here.
A beautiful example of a parent’s wishes for the future
Thank you very much, Derrick.
Reblogged this on The Wombwell Rainbow.
Thank you, Paul.
Certainly no parent would wish such a fate on a child!
I wouldn’t think so. I guess some don’t have much of a choice.
This is so lovely, Merril. ❤
Thank you so much, Colleen!
Amazingly meaningful, and completely filled with hope and guidance.
My grandfather and great uncle were coal miners. My great uncle died from black lung.
Okay… I’ve always wanted to say this, but have held back lest I seem full of doggerel.
I am ecstatic about this ekphrastic.
Thank you so much, Resa! 💙
I’m so sorry about your great uncle.
I don’t have any experience with coal mines or miners, but I remember my husband’s grandmother talking about hearing them go to work or come home (Scranton, PA area)–and I just discovered my husband’s great grandfather was a coal miner.
I’m happy you’re ecstatic! 🤣
Yay… about ecstatic!
I did costumes for a fascinating movie about Brookside Mines in Harlan County, Kentucky.
It was the last coal mine to be unionized in the USA. The movie was based on an Oscar winning documentary about said subject. Starred Holly Hunter. I felt the movie stuck to the truth, and was proud to be a part.
Very cool about the movie! It sounds familiar.
This is beautiful, Merril. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much, Jill!
Depending on where they live, it is to be expected that the child follow the parent’s footsteps – hopefully there are more options where they are and the child can be steered to other options!
I am always amazed when some parents expect nothing more for their children.
Thank you so much, Dale. Yes, I suppose so much depends on culture and opportunity.
My heart lurched too. It’s true that entire communities are built around one industry and there is no choice. Yet try to take it away, and people dwell only the good things about it, the community aspect.
My great-grandfather died of black lung too.
Thank you. Yes, it must have been so difficult to get away from the places where you lived in a company house and shopped in a company store–whatever the industry. I’m sorry about your great-grandfather. It must have been such a difficult life to be a miner.
Difficult and completely exploitative. That’s why my great-grandma took on the pub, so he wouldn’t have to work. There were no other jobs and his lungs were giving out. Running a pub gave her a healthy contempt for men!
I don’t know that I knew your great-grandma had a pub! I imagine she did have a healthy contempt. 😀
Yes, she had an invalid husband, her own children, and when her husband’s sister died shortly after her tenth baby was born, she had all her brood to look after too.
She also found time to be an unofficial hospital service for all injured and wounded birds and animals. She was a force of nature!
She sounds like it! And amazing. I’m glad, since she’s my relative, too. 😏
Yes, of course! Women like that are the backbone of families.
Oh, no, my own heart lurched when I read the fate that awaited this mother’s son . . .
Thank you very much, Liz!
You’re most welcome, Merril!
It’s a spiral that’s difficult to escape. May her wish come true. (K)
Yes, it is. I hope so, too.