I wrote this one before reading how four miners have died in Queensland this year. Appalling to think that people are dying like that; something is obviously very wrong.

Makes my last line seem a little optimistic, and the illustration of nineteenth century safety lamps seem appropriate.

The canary, the pony, and the man

It sounds like a joke’s first line,
a trio who walked into a bar.
But no, these are the three who
went below, swung down from the light.

One was there to pull loads
through dark roads carved
far from the sun, far from meadow,
half horse and half mole.

The bright bird, born for the sky,
would die first if the air was turning.
Now he is mere metaphor, cliché;
canary in the coal-mine has had his day.

Only the man still mines.
Each day he dives down to work,
amongst rich minerals and dust —
every day rising like Lazarus.

PS Cottier

safety-lamps