Coal Miner's Mother

Written by: Donald Meikle

He stood there in the late afternoon rain
Holding his tin and thermus
In coal blackened hands
Hatless as the water ran through his hair
Streaking white tracks down his face
To zebra his cheeks  and whiten the nape of his neck
The wet black hair  clung flattened to his head
He turned his head up into the soft rain
In moments he was white again
That pale white white that seldom sees the sun
Winter white his mother called it sadly
He wondered what the woods were like
Where she so often went to harvest food
And all those other weeds she boiled or dried
Was it just last week that she had died?