The Valley

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I was born in a valley that was hollowing itself out

Under our feet men were digging

With mandrills and charge

Stripped naked in the heat

Of the dark seams of the earth


I was born in a valley that was dying on its feet

People didn’t seem to notice

One by one the pits closed

Men were moved to other mines

But the valley was thinning.


I was born in a village at a time when deaths shadow

Still haunted the ribboned streets

I grew accustomed to the disappearance

Of men, of the disasters, the mass funerals

For those who died in the depths

Those sombre marching line of men.


I was born in a village where words such as roof-fall,

Explosions, afterdamp a build-up of gas

In the heat of that darkness

Became markers of another time another age

I was born in a place that was dying

Its soul waving I’m leaving, you staying?