Union Songs


A Song by Henry Clements©2006 Henry Clements registered with PRS/MCPS

- [play]

He's polished his helmet, he's blackened his boots;
first light of morning, he's down the old route
reporting for duty, though not like before:
he'll still be a collier, but the coal is no more

The mine's a museum, a heritage show;
come see the pitmen in waxwork tableaux
posed at the hewing and posed at their rest,
in a replica setting that's deep in the past:

The mine's a museum of fences and gates,
car parks and postcards and newly landscaped;
there are trips to the coalface with miners as guides
a playground for children, and pit pony rides :

The mine's a museum that's dusted and swept;
visitors queue where once wives stood and wept
as they waited for news of their men down below
trapped by a cave-in, a long time ago ...

The mine's a museum, the village a shell;
a community's being has gone to the wall
there is housing for hundreds, jobs for but a score
at the pithead, pretending, they're miners once more:

The mine's a museum, the mine is a zoo
with the men as exhibits, forever on view
to the curious public, who flock in each day
... then it's Farmworld tomorrow, down Heritage Way


Many thanks to Henry Clements for permission to add this song to the Union Songs collection.

Henry writes:
'This is another song I sing best with a feeling of anger growing through it so it ends on a crescendo. I know these museums (Big Pit, etc) do provide some employment but to me they offer sanitised, plasticised versions of a history of communities where hard battles were won and lost.

To visit the valleys of South Wales now is a strange experience: the evidence of mining has been almost completely erased from the landscape ... a lot like the grass which covers the mud and trenches of WW1 battlefields.'

Visit Henry on MySpace

Pitworld is on his CD 'Beacon Fires'

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