The Dark Men

Updated on January 7, 2018
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth is a rural citizen of Hamilton, Ala., and has begun to observe life and certain things and people helping him to write about them.

  Coal mier in 1946.
Coal mier in 1946. | Source

Iz gets up in de dark; go’s to work in de dark; work in de dark

An’ goes back home in de dark. Iz not by myself.

Iz gest a man with other broke backs . . .

We’ze de Dark Men. Just de dawk ol’ men.


Bloody hands runnin’ o’er de Compun’s lands

Keeps da shoose, da blooze, ah stayin’ out da dough.

Iz gits much coffee, tying my shooz, Iz a Dark Man.

Working in Dawkness makes a leen sumtymes.


Cryin’ dem sad ol’ blues—down heah, dey ain’t no nooze

Gest pick, ‘n shuvel, ‘n timber; takin’ a ton ‘er two tuh lite.

Wez da Dark Men, de brokun ol’ men.

A drank now-n-den, alls Iz been—iz a Dark ol’ man.


Can’t pay de rent; no lettur frum home evuh sent’

Head hung low; no stoppin’, hatin’ to go.

Wez de sorreful men: de sonz of Older Dark Men

Wailin,’ tears-a trailin’, Nuther cave-in kill’d two men.


We crawl de hole when Boss man blows de hoan

We crawl to shantys—pains, death, an’ blues bemone.

Wez de Dark Men.

Gest ol diggin’ men . . .

Gest ol diggin’ men . . .

A Very Personal Moment

This very personal commentary is true. Sadly, very true.

My granddad, Quinton Lee, did his share of coal mining

during some severely-tough times. With a wife and nine

kids to feed, clothe, and be the breadwinner brought laughter

when he dared to say his job was “tough.”

________In Memory of Quint.

Explanation: although the verbiage in this commentary is written in the tongue and slang of those Coal Miners who labored in darkness for most of the times, no intent is given to humiliate or put in a harsh light of these men in the Coal Mines in The Appalachian Mountains, West Virginia, Kentucky, and some far regions in the State of Alabama—circa 1930 – 1955. Thanks, Kenneth.


Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Kenneth Avery

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      • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenneth Avery 

        11 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        Hello, Gypsy Rose Lee -- you are too kind, my great friend. Than you so much. I sincerely appreciate you reading and commenting. I dedicated this to my grandpa and all of the Miners in the East, Mid-West, and South.

        Thanks again and have a peaceful day or night.

        Write me anytime.

      • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenneth Avery 

        11 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        Hello, Kari -- you are very observative. This was the idea of this poem, to keep you "trapped," no way out, in a metaphorical sense, and even I felt trapped and WANTED a way out and sadly, "the" way out was death. My granddad, Quint, told my mom and her siblings stories about how dismal the work was in a coal mine, but men in that time had to do what they could to feed their families.

        Thanks again and thank you for your sweet words.

        Write me anytime.

      • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenneth Avery 

        11 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        Hi, Robin -- thank you so much for the nice comment and I am glad that you enjoyed this piece. Is that coffee you are drinking in the photo in your comment?

        If so, are you going to share it with me and Kari and RoadMonkey?

        Write me anytime.

      • RobinReenters profile image

        Robin Carretti 

        11 months ago from Hightstown

        Love the style of this read thanks so much I enjoyed

      • k@ri profile image

        Kari Poulsen 

        11 months ago from Ohio

        I get the feeling of being trapped reading your poem. I think this is very creative!

      • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

        Gypsy Rose Lee 

        11 months ago from Riga, Latvia

        Most creative tribute to men who labor in the dark.

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