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Monday, January 9, 2006

Swan song

-- Steve Earle

Comments (3)

Lyrics immediately putting me in the mind of humming "Paradise" sung by John Prine and others over the years:

"Then the coal company came with the world's largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man."

This sounds nearer Peter, Paul & Mary's version than U2 - Bono's. I'm not sure.


Springhill Mining Disaster

In the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia
Down in the dark of the Cumberland Mine
there´s blood on the coal and the miners lie
In the roads that never saw sun nor sky

In the town of Springhill you don´t sleep easy
Often the earth will tremble and roll
When the earth is restless miners die
Bone and blood is the price of coal

In the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia
Late in the year of fifty-eight
Day still comes and the sun still shines
But it´s dark as the grave in the Cumberland mine

Down at the coal face miners working
Rattle of the belt and the cutter´s blade
Rumble of the rock and the walls closed round
The living and the dead men two miles down

Twelve men lay two miles from the pitshaft
Twelve men lay in the dark and sang
Long hot days in the miners tomb
It was three feet high and a hundred long

Three days past and the lamps gave out
Our foreman rose on his elbow and said
We´re out of light and water and bread
So we´ll live on song and hope instead

Mining coal and burning it to produce electricity causes terrible destruction to the environment and human health, and to society, including the economy.

Acid rain, acid drainage, mercury poisoning, chronic and deadly respiratory diseases, leveling mountains, undermining thousands of rural communities, devaluing homesteads and farms and dewatering vast expanses of landscape, coal company thugs terrorizing citizen resisters of Ol' King Coal's rapaciousness and corruption of derelict government officials, with black lung, maiming, and violent death after death of the working poor worldwide.

Those are just some of the true costs of coal.

Yours truly,
someone in Appalachia.

Dark As A Dungeon

Come and listen, young fellers, so young and so fine
And seek not your fortune in the dark dreary mines
It will form as a habit and seep in your soul
'Til the stream of your blood runs as black as the coal

Where it's dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew
Where the dangers are double and the pleasures are few
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines
It's dark as a dungeon way down in the mines

There's many a man who I've known in my day
Who lived just to labor his whole life away
Like a fiend with his dope or a drunkard his wine
A man will have lust for the lure of the mines

Well I hope when I'm gone and the ages shall roll
My body will blacken and turn into coal
Then I'll look from the door of my heavenly home
And pity the miner that's digging my bones

Words and music by Merle Travis

(provided courtesy of BluegrassLyrics.Com)

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