Union Songs

I Am Coal

A Song by Ed Pickford©Ed Pickford mcps/prs

- [play]

I am coal
I am coal
Progress and destruction in my soul
The lepidodendron tree died and them gave birth to me
I trade for blood for energy
I am coal

300 million years ago I was born
My father was the sun in carbon times
From the womb of Mother Earth
Below a swamp she gave me birth
Light trapped in the darkness of a stone
I am coal

The legions of the eagle walked Celtic land
It was a long 500 years of time
They carved my bones and called me jet
Then hung me round their Roman necks
A gift of love and beauty for a while
I am coal


When Tudors wore the hollow crown there I lay
Naked underneath a northern sky
I fed bitter fires of hate
A thorn between the church and state
Waters of the Tyne flowed gently by
I am coal

Steam made profit out of power – men could dream
I was a revolution's beating heart
I turned children into slaves
And never marked their infant graves
Britain was the workshop of the world
I am coal


I killed by water, gas and fire, deep in hell
My seed was money in the solar bank
I made soap – I made your ale
Some say I even saved the whale
That volcano burning in your hearth
I am coal

Lionised and then despised down all my days
I'm likened to the buboes of the plague
Creative destructive force
Maybe I've not yet run my course
I surely was the best of British stone
I am coal


Many thanks to Ed Pickford for permission to add this song to the Union Songs collection.

Ed writes:
'The mine, where I grew up, dominated economic life. It was the centre of a community but that does no mean it was always loved. If you talk to miners they all say that what they miss about mining is the craic. This has been recorded by the group 'Pegleg Ferret'. I heard it sung the other night by the Newcastle fiddler Tom McConville and he did it brilliantly.'
(The song is sung here by The Keelers)

Find more Ed Pickford songs on this site.

Visit Ed Pickford's website at http://www.ed-pickford.co.uk/

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