Westray Mine

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Performances

Lyrics

In Plymouth, Nova Scotia
My fathers and their fathers too
In the same black earth, they expended their lives
Pulling out coal from the deep

Two hundred years and then some
They worked the old Foord ground
Till death put ?? in only cost
Soon all the money in town?

The price for jobs in Pictou County
Became a political scene
There’s millions of dollars in kilowatt hours
Untapped in the old Foord seam

Westray partners and the crown ??
Took together in their bed of gold
Dreaming their dreams of billions of dollars
Blown out of Westray coal

But the coal and gold ride out on the backs
Of the men who died in the deep
We work shortened lives, breathing what air
Filters in with the methane seeps??

“But the Westray mine is the safest mine
“That ever opened its doors
“The Westray mine is a walk in the park
“When you think of the mining before.”

There were marching bands and catered affairs
When the Westray opened its doors
But in our very first week, old Mac says to me,
“You know Carl, I’m really not sure.”

“This, the safest, most modern mine
“I tell you boy, it ain’t no laugh
“That we wading down here in piles of coal dust
“Deeper than ?”

So I asked Mr. Phillips, “What’s the deal
“With this safe and modern mine?”
He said, “don’t you fret, all the rights have been met
“A few corners were trimmed to save time.

“Westray mine is the safest mine
“That the world has ever made
“And your dad, rest his soul, worked through his life whole
“At less than a third of what you’re paid.”

When the first storage room ceiling fell
I wrote the provincial ??
Saying the liberties taken in the world’s safest mine
Will soon get the miners killed.

The answer came through Mr. Phillips
Who sent me packing down the road
As being an insubordinate man
Who wouldn’t carry his load.

Well, I didn’t have much time to ponder
The injustice of it all
That Saturday morning a sickening rumble
Shook through the houses all

Methane had ignited the piles
Of coal dust down below
Oh, Mac and twenty-five other men
Wouldn’t be coming home.

Gerald Phillips spoke at the memorial
For the twenty-six men who died
Saying the highest honour to them we could give
Would be to quickly reopen the mine

Now I never killed a man before
I swore that I never would
But if I’d had a gun under me vest
I’d have shot him dead where he stood.

And the coal and the gold still ride on the backs
Of the men who died underneath
We work shortened lives breathing what air
Filters in with the methane seeps?

Well the Westray mine was the safest mine
That ever opened its doors
The Westray mine was a walk in the park
When you think of mining before.


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