Coalie Pickman Coalie Pickman digging Coalie Pickman Coalie Pickman digging Coalie Pickman Coalie Pickman digging Coalie Pickman Coalie Pickman digging Coalie Pickman
William Bauchop Wilson

by W.B. Wilson


A slight little fellow, not yet in his teens,
His arms to his elbows tucked down in his jeans,
No cares of the present, no thoughts of the past,
No plans for the future, no troubles that last;
No bird as it sings o'er its nest in the tree
Its ode to the morning, more happy than he.
His loud ringing whistle, clear, piercing and shrill,
Re-echoes the joys of his heart o'er the hill
He is starting in life as a miner.

A youthful-like personage, wiry and strong,
Deep-chested, broad-shouldered, limbs supple and long.
The coal seems today to be flying more thick
Than ever before from the point of this pick.
Fast flows the sweat from each pore in his face,
As blow after blow brings the coal from its place.
What pride in his voice as she [sic] says: "By the way,
I want you to know I am sixteen today,
And I want a 'full turn' as a miner."

A middle-aged man with a calm, pleasant air,
His face and his brow slightly furrowed with care;
Fighting life's battles with stubborn will,
Doing his work with a masterly skill.
Leading his comrades in honors grown gray,
Taking their laurels triumphant away.
High as a workman has risen fame,
Till over all others is spoken his name-
He is just in his prime as a miner.

An old gray-haired person who walks with a cane,
Every wrong step brings a volley of pain.
Walks a short distance, then stops for a rest
From difficult breathing, pains all through his breast.
Telling with glee and a care for the truth,
Great tales of the digging he did in his youth,
The "soft snaps" he had and the hard work he'd done,
The foes he defeated, the laurels he won-
He has worked all his life as a miner.

A plain, common coffin, no trimmings of gold,
Its occupant lifeless, rigid and cold;
Gone from this life with its pleasures and pains,
Its rises and downfalls, losses and gains.
Now all his work as a miner is o'er,
And the tales he once told he will never tell more.
Green o'er his grave, let sweet immortelles grow,
Now since he's gone where all mortals must go-
All mortals as well as a miner.

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The Wilson index:

• William Bauchop Wilson Main Page
• Coming to America
• Growing up in Arnot, Pennsylvania
• The Next 20 Years
• Secretary-Treasurer of the United Mine Workers of America
• Congress
• The Family
• Ferniegair Farm Blossburg, Pennsylvania
• Bibliography