The Day They Closed The Mine

An old blind horse is led through the streets,
right up to the factory gate.
Three times it stumbles on the cobblestones
and collapses – a pile of brittle bones,
shuddering with the strain.
The man who leads it by the halter
coaxes it to stand, and tugging at the tattered mane,
strokes its forehead with his hand.
He tethers it to the factory gate
and leaves it there – a old blind horse,led obediently to its fate.
At the sight of that poor creature, I remember
the day they closed the mine.
The ponies came lumbering out the darkness,
eyes blinkered, still in collar and harness,
backs loaded with shovels and coal.
Sturdy old beasts – sure-footed, stout-hearted –
but no longer needed, sold off at market.
“What’ull happen to um?” they asked
when the last horse was sold.
“Why, they’ull tek um to the factory
……………………….to old Mr Jones –
Grind their flesh into dog meat
an’ make buttons from their bones.”

Elinor Cole

Poet for June

The Day They Closed The Mine

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