Stephen C. Pratt – Poet

Stephen Pratt, amember of the Heritage group,has been good enough to contribute a selection of his poems and photographs, which show and tell with poignancy his time at Cadeby Main.

Don’t go down the mine Dad

Don’t go down the mine dad

don’t go down the pit,

It’s like you’re doing time dad

and you hate it every bit.

Your wage is pretty poor dad

your wage is pretty bad

For the job you have to do dad

I bet it makes you mad

I’ve heard it’s like a rat hole dad

and for more money you have to strike

Soon it will be my birthday dad

I don’t really want that bike.

Don’t make dad go down the pit mum,

please make him stay at home.

You know you hate the night shifts mum

when he has to leave us all alone.

What did that man say about dad – mom,

the man who knocked at our door.

What did that man say about dad – mum

our dad, we don’t see any more

Cadeby Main colliery

A memory of my time.

I walked across Conisbrough´s hillycrag

and lookedover the land and wood.

I could see the modern Earth Centre

where Cadeby colliery once stiood.

My thoughts were of all those mining years

and all the colliers that worked down the pit

the underground gasses and pit explosions

and those men who died within it.

Miners striking for a living wage

and for coal not dole was true.

Supporting the NUM against pit closures

miners did what they had to do.

I sigh and breathe in clean fresh air,

gone are years of swallowing coal dust

from that pit that stood there

I walked back along the pathway

I know I’m one of the remaining few

who knows the curses you get from mining

and just what they can do to you.

With my hand on my chest

I know I did my best

mining was in the family blood

but now I leave you in verse

for better or worse

this memory of my time, for good

Memories of mine

Down in the Dearne Valley

where the pit wheels used to turn

is when I worked hard as a miner

where every penny I did earn

It´s as a Yorkshire miner

that I worked down Cadeby pit

In the dark and dusty hole

cutting the coal to bits

Tiny mice from the pony days

Lots were running around,

but after the last big pit strike

no more were there to be found

Modern day and power change

the government have passed a bill,

to close mines or impose fines

and my valley´s pits stood still.

Never again will I go underground

in the dark recesses of the pit

With coal dust heavy on my lungs and chest

I swore to my god `that’s it´

I seen young men age before their time

I seen friends hurt or die

these men worked for a living wage

and I´ve heard their loved ones cry

No more is there a Cadeby colliery

and no more a Denaby pit

But there was a magnificent Earth Centre

a replacement, a monument, to visit

King Coal´s Lost Crown

The miners of Britain in 1984

worked a hundred and seventy pits

thousands of miners were to lose their jobs

through the government’s pit closure hits

Thatcher turned miner against miner

their union was caused to split

showing a weakness in their power

the government began to hit

Maggie sent police to beat strikers

miners were beaten black and blue

why do they do this to peaceful pickets ?

but that’s what they would do

Sorting things this way was brutal

and it was clear

it was costing the miners dearly

throughout this striking year

Alas the strike was over

in 1985 miners return to work

there were no real winners or losers

and the danger in mies still lurk

Onward went Scargill’s army of miners

They had fought and done their bit

they marched proudly with their banners

and had picketed every pit

The heart was torn from a great industry

built on Britain’s island of coal

Thatcher had broken the might of union and miners

then she put them on the dolel

Most pit wheels have stop turning

many collieries were pulled down

this really was the end of an era

King coal had lost his crown

Many years on from those pit closures

King coal head´s back with passion

it’s thanks to vast energy energy prices

that coal mining is back in fashion

Make coal power stations keep on burning

keep King coal at the top

It´s better for Britain’s economic future

And more for us to spend in the shop

This has been a lesson of learning

on both sides mistakes were made

so spare a kind thought for the miners

it was a terrible price they paid

From the centre of the Earth to the Earth centre

From the centre of the Earth to the Earth Centre

with its solar canopy and park

is a long way from my mining days

when I worked hard down Cadeby pit in the dark

Regenerating the old mining land

the slag heap had been taken away

we have hope at the eco-friendlier centre

for a brighter greener day

From the centre of the Earth to the the Earth Centre

is where the eco warriors bio diversity

where the pondlife rise in harmony with the dragonfly

it was the site of a disaster that saw miners die

but now a greener valley lives on

From the centre of the Earth to the Earth Centre

throughout the year are festivals and fun

with a new way of learning

that´s here for everyone

To be the adventure and climb the heights

Or just abseil down a rope

it’s a brighter place for England

and one that also gives us hope

From the centre of the Earth the Earth Centre

where those willows weep but do not cry

as the Aberdeen Angus passes on by

I wipe a falling tear from my eye

Happy memories of mine now live on

and on

Happy memories of mine now live on

Pit security versus theCoal Pickers

Security guards patrol the coal heaps

with dogs by their side

when coal pickers see them coming

some stop, some stay, somehide

Coal pickers riddle their black nuggets

from slippery, sliding heaps.

They risk their lives and everything

For a bag of coals to keep

Coal pickers don’t want their families to suffer

From the winter gales that blow

no one wants to see them killing themselves

that’s why the guards tell them to go

Go now, be gone, be off with you

But like a jumping Jack

when coal pickers see guards leaving

they all start coming back

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