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.