Pick Coal Rhythm

If you look for a job I tell you true,
The coal mine, he no place for you; 
If you listen while I tell,
He some place just like hell.

The coal, he dirty, bottom wet.
To dig him under make you sweat,
Bore through boney, sulphur-all,
Shoot five times and he no fall.

Motor comin' got no coal,
Grabbin' auger borin' hole;
Ketchem powder an' the squib.
Tamp 'em up and blow out rib.

Grabbin' car to push for face,
Jump on frog-go wrong place;
Axle he loose, too much play,
Lift him up-wheel he stay.

Fetchin' buddy put for track,
Push for place, hurt him back;
Come to place, too much smoke;
No got dog-hole-maybe choke.

Shovel fast to load-a him,
Crawl for bumper, nothin' in;
Fill him up like load of hay,
Motor come, take him away.

Road he purty much too far,
Have to throw two time to car;
No got rail, ties and spike,
Boss he come, he make big fight.

Come outside, two cars short;
Make me mad! boy I snort;
Askin' weighboss find my car,
He say nothin chew cigar.

An check- weighman, he no good,
He got head-a made of wood;
He and weigh boss too much friends
Next election trouble ends.

Sometimes work nothin's at all,
When the big rock he done fall;
Boss he come to me and shout:
"If you no like-a take tools out."

Company cheat how much he could,
Then he say he do me good:
No good weight like before-
Take all pay for comp'ny store.

Thatís not all- I tell-a half.
Dat's-a true, no make-a laugh,
If you t'ink I tell-a lie,
Catch-a da job-make-a da try.

Lou Barrelle and Andy Lucas

This poem was given to me by a former McIntyre resident whose father was in charge of the mine office from 1917 to 1942. The poem was found among the belongings of the mine officer after he died and was signed, "Anonymous." 

After some searching, I discovered that the poem was originally published on page 19 of the United Mine Workers Journal, April 1, 1937 in an article entitled, "Miner Poets and Some of Their Rhyming Efforts."  The poem was also reproduced on pages 238-239 in the book, Coal Dust on the Fiddle by George Korson. In the Korson book, the first author's name is given as Lou Parelle rather than Lou Barelle. Nothing is known about the miner poets who wrote this simple yet evocative poem. 

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