FOR THE LEAST OF THESE
Remember the six motherless children
whose father died in a pit disaster.
Thank the family next door
who took them into their tiny home
and gave them a roof, food and love.
Remember the pit boy
who fell down the mine shaft
doing a man’s job.
Thank the man who unearthed
the truth that his Mam and Dad
did not live to see.
Remember the thousands of miners
made redundant when all the country's pits closed.
Remember their sons who leave school now
with no job and no future.
Thank the old woman
who cooks dinner every Friday
for the homeless.
The drinking water fountain commemorates the installation in 1859 of piped water for the town from Ennerdale Lake, about twelve miles away.
Haig Pit, the last working coal mine in Whitehaven, Cumbria, closed in 1986. There are plans to open a deep mine for coking coal under the Irish Sea a few hundred yards south at Woodhouse.
Images © 2007 Paul Martin. The poem's title is taken from Matthew 25, vv 40-45.
It's almost two years since I published In Our Fathers' Footsteps (see under BOOKS). My latest book, One Dog and His Cop, about my cousin's police dog,was published 30 November this year (see under BOOKS).