The ground trembles,
a sharp intake of breath stills the village,
the pit siren begins to wail.
Feet hasten to the pit head,
women and children, family elders,
each cottage left abandoned;
then the explosion fills the air
with screams, dust and smoke.
The cage cranks up,
saddened faces surface,
desperate men, looking for their families.
Others waiting, searching,
cling together in the lingering smog,
tear streaked faces mouthing prayers.
Rescue makes way for retrieval,
husbands, fathers, sons.
The church bell tolls on Monday morning.
Martha joins the procession of feet,
walking to a place they don’t want to go,
carrying men shoulder high.
Every ebony coffin bearing a pit helmet,
leaving the village,
no longer cloaked in smoke,
now wrapped in devastation.
Elaine Morris (c) August 2015.