Slate Miners of Blaenau Ffestiniog

A tribute

Moshe Forman
Jun 8 · 1 min read
Amgueddfa Cymru: Public Domain

The power of sinew, muscle and bone,
chipping at the flakes of the devil slate,
till the killer dust snuffed out your life.
The quota of your years; two score and seven.
Lives doused as the wax candle at the end of your shift,
extinguished by the darkness and the dust of your lungs.

Till your sons stepped up to the deadly throne,
each generation, life extinguished for the black slate.
You men who built Britain, laid to rest too soon.
In mining town churchyards, even in death,
your sinew, muscle and bone,
nourish the soil of this green and pleasant land.

Note: In the 19th Century, 4,000 men worked at the Oakeley mine, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales — the world’s largest underground slate mine. Average life expectancy was 47 years.

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Moshe Forman

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When I’m not a poet, novelist, or writer of short stories, I’m a writer of creative non-fiction exploring Self, Food, Society and History.

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