Stone on Stone

Far below the surface
at depths that rock
could metaphor clouds
and their village
a remembered sky home
they moiled for gold.

The daily fall to work
of one hundred and eighty
thump
men in the double-decker car
down the mile-deep shaft
thump
took minutes rapid
thumping
openings to upper drifts
thump
seventy-five metres
thump
every three seconds
thump
for too many minutes
thump
thump
thump
thump
until the hoist operator
up top
thump
saw the marker
thump
and the hoist slowed
and knees took three Gs
thump
and the cable stretched
whee
and the car rose
to pass then settle down to
to the forty-five hundred foot
level where they crossed to the
next hoist down
thump
to eighty-three hundred
thump
thump
thump
thump
whee

Then they left the lighted
landing and headed into the
drift to the stope.

Far along the drift
without the lamps
on their hard hats
dark was so absolute
eyes would be unnecessary.

On the day in question
the rookie was to scale
his first stope
Sven showed him
how to grasp the long scaling bar
and use it to jab into
the freshly blasted stope
and chip loose rock
from wall and overhang
so they could muck safely.

He chipped and scaled
for a half hour
dropping several tons
of rubble to the floor
finally he turned to
old Sven, who was watching
and said “It’s ready.”

Sven stood
reached for the bar, and tapped
the overhang a few paces
from where they stood.

Magically
a rock the size of a small
truck
appeared before them
with a slam
that shook the rookie
for fifty years.

“Not quite,” said Sven,
and the rookie scaled
for another hour
on the day in question.

NaPoWriMo

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About riverwriter

Poet, playwright, duplicate bridge player, website designer, cottager, husband, father, grandfather, former athlete, carpenter, computer helper for my friends, theatre designer, backstage polymath, retired teacher of highschool English, drama, art, a baritone singer in a barbershop quartet, who knows what else? wordcurrents is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wordcurrents/ Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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