Proceeding with the mining disaster theme, here's a guest poem submitted independently by Mike Christie and Ameya Nagarajan
(Poem #1387) The Explosion
On the day of the explosion Shadows pointed towards the pithead: In the sun the slagheap slept. Down the lane came men in pitboots Coughing oath-edged talk and pipe-smoke, Shouldering off the freshened silence. One chased after rabbits; lost them; Came back with a nest of lark's eggs; Showed them; lodged them in the grasses. So they passed in beards and moleskins, Fathers, brothers, nicknames, laughter, Through the tall gates standing open. At noon, there came a tremor; cows Stopped chewing for a second; sun, Scarfed as in a heat-haze, dimmed. The dead go on before us, they Are sitting in God's house in comfort, We shall see them face to face - Plain as lettering in the chapels It was said, and for a second Wives saw men of the explosion Larger than in life they managed - Gold as on a coin, or walking Somehow from the sun towards them, One showing the eggs unbroken.
Note: the sixth verse ("The dead go on . . . ") should be in italics. [Mike's commentary] I've liked the two poems people sent in about mining disasters: I wanted to add this one to the list. It's long been one of my favourite Larkin poems. It manages to be powerfully moving without being sentimental; the last image, of the men somehow expanding and disappearing away from this mortal world, as the wives understand they are dead, is one of my favourite images in all of poetry. Mike Christie [Ameya's commentary] All these mining poems reminded me of larkin, what I like about this poem is that it focuses on the life of the miners and thus highlights even more the tragedy of their death. The saddest image is the one conjured by "Gold as on a coin" because it implies the miners are worth more to their families after death because of compensation, an amount of money that their labour could never provide. Ameya