Two up two down. Back to back.
The tin bath hanging on a nail next to the privy.
Sheets strung from gate to gate
flapping in the alley.
Shoulders hunched against wind and rain.
Heads down under oppressive skies.
Pit boots tramp the pit path.
Every contour carved on a consciousness
consequence of time’s relentlessness.
Oil lamps glow like fireflies caught up
in the tangled web of steel and iron.
Sons follow fathers criss-crossing girders
to the gantry’s cage descending into sunken shafts.
From the Tyne to the North Sea
a quarter of a million men worked in pits
that never stopped shovelling coal;
taking pick axes to veins
powering wealth for owners.
Bath night. Heat rising. Pictures on windows.
Skin crusted coal dust pitted the pitman’s back.
Washed clean. Lurking silent and unseen
deadly dust invading the lung.
If you may have been affected by exposure to asbestos find out more from Unite’s legal team
If you have been exposed to diesel fumes find out more here
If you have been exposed to silica find out more here
If you have been exposed to a cabin fume event find out more here