COMING TO GRASS
Cornishman: a man at the bottom of a mine, singing.
They came to grass at the end of the day.
They climbed from the Dark to grass
and carried the Dark up with them.
After a long day of night with only
the head’s candle for light,
after aching hours of sledging iron
against candle-gleamed borer,
Grass was the surface they climbed to
through a thousand feet of Dark—
Over and over they pulled their weight up the rungs
as their hearts rang the ribcage,
to come up to light and grass-green,
but to carry Dark with them unseen.
Dark changed the strong men,
shortened their tempers, stubborned beliefs,
roughened their tongues—
Dark led them to think
they were the ones who could see.
But in the mine, in chapel, in pub,
Bearing this Dark is what taught them to sing.