[The tune is a variation of “Matty Groves”]
Here’s to the men of the midnight shift
Who cut and blast the coal
And here’s to the families of the midnight men
Who died in the mine below the ground, who died in the mine below.
When you work your life in the Westray mine
You live in the shadow of fear
For the coal dust and gas and flame
Means the shadow of death is near to you,
Oh, the shadow of death is near.
Oh, “A dollar is a dollar is a dollar”, they say,
“Be glad for the work you’ve found!”
But what is the price of a miner’s life
Traded for the coal below the ground,
Traded for the coal below.
The families prayed in the Fireman’s Hall
for six long days and nights,
And they prayed for fathers, husbands, sons,
Who never again would see the light,
Who never would see the light.
I swear, by God, that I never cried
’til I went in the hell of the mine
And saw the bodies of the midnight men
Who died before their time was near,
Who died before their time
So, pray for the men of the midnight shift
Who cut and blast the coal.
And pray for the bodies of the midnight men
Who died in the mine below the ground
Who died in the mine below.
Now, tell me, who’s to profit and who’s to blame
for the deaths of 26 men?
But smile at the dollar held in their hand
and smile at that dollar in their hand.
Now, damn the bureaucrat and damn the lies
of the ones who sent them down.
No warning would they give to the lads
who lost their lives down underground
Who died there underground.