WORD SHARING!

WORD SHARING!

5.8.11

HARTLEY PIT CALAMITY 1862















‘What was it there on Hartley heap, caused the mother and child to weep?’ (George Cooke)
Cold January’s gripped our throbbing hearts and torn them.
Still the sea rolls on.

This earth’s bowells stink of our loved one’s deaths,
the air tastes foul.
Still the sea rolls on.

They don black gloves,
drag out the bodies one by one.
The death-stained faces seem to smile.
Still the sea rolls on.

We are the widows of Hartley,
our men and boys are dead,
our lives cracked open,
damp corpses in our beds.
Still the sea rolls on.

We clutch cold messages from Dukes and Queens,
we wipe the coal dust from our widowed eyes.
The coffin makers’ heavy hammers beat,
keep time with lapping parlour clocks,
and still
the sea rolls on,
still the sea rolls on.

Still the sea,

we are the widows of Hartley,
our men and boys are dead.

Take away your stumbling words and

GIVE US BREAD.



KEITH ARMSTRONG


As performed at Hartley Memorial Concert in New Hartley Village Hall on Saturday 16th January 2010
WORK HAS BEGUN ON A COMMEMORATIVE BOOK FOR NORTH TYNESIDE COUNCIL TO MARK THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CALAMITY

the jingling geordie

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whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur