From 3 Quarks Daily today:
When the rich rain economic bombs upon ordinary folks, that just capitalism.
When ordinary folks point out the bombs, that’s Class Warfare.
A Reporter from New York Asks Edith Mae Chapman,
Age Nine, What Her Daddy Tells her about the coal miner’s strike in West Virginia in 1921.
We ain’t to go in the company store, mooning
over peppermint sticks, shaming ourselves like a dog
begging under the table. They cut off our account
but we ain’t no-account. We ain’t to go to school
so’s the company teacher can tell us we are.
We ain’t going to meeting and bow our heads
for the company preacher, who claims it is the meek
will inherit the coal fields, instead of telling
how the mountains will crumble and rocks
rain down like fire upon the heads
of the operators, like it says in the Bible.
We ain’t to talk to no dirtscum scabs
and we ain’t to talk to God. My daddy
is very upset with the Lord.
by Diane Gilliam Fisher
from Kettle Bottom
publisher: Penguin Press, 2004
Footnote: Kettle Bottom is a collection of historical poems published in 2004 by Perugia Press in Florence, Massachusetts and written by Diane Gilliam Fisher. The collection’s deep focus is on the West Virginia labor battles of 1920 and 1921, such as the Battle of Matewan and Battle of Blair Mountain. Kettle Bottom was named Top Ten Poetry Book for 2005 by American Booksellers Association Book Sense, was winner of the Ohioana Library Association Poetry Book of the Year, was a finalist for the Weatherford Award of the Appalachian Studies Association, and selected for inclusion in The Pushcart Prize XXX: Best of the Small Presses.
I grew up on the edge of the South Wales coalfield and I think intuitively understand West Virginia coal miners and their situation.