Miner's Wife

Ewan MacColl
Language: English

This short song was written for the documentary Radio Ballad, The Big Hewer, first broadcast by the BBC in 1961. A number of interviews were conducted with miners' wives and the greatest concern seemed to be the dangers in the pit, a subject which worried the women as much as the miners themselves. One woman described it as as "a constant war of nerves".

1989:] The miners' strike [of 1984/85] lasted 358 days, and [...] cost fourteen deaths (one of them officially a murder), nearly 10,000 arrests, thousands of injuries to both miners and police, and over £7 billion of taxpayers' money. It was a dispute about pit closures and the future of mining communities that was seen by much of the media and the public in more simple terms, as a show of strength between a hard-line left-winger, Arthur Scargill, the miners' leader, and an apostle of market forces, Margaret Thatcher. The media, for the most part, reflected public opinion in their hostility towards the miners, particularly as the bitterness and violence grew. (Denselow, Music 212)
Every day for weeks and weeks on end he's gone to join the battle
Regular as clockwork in the early hours of day
Sandwich wrapped in greaseproof paper stuffed into the inside pocket
Of his old wind-cheater - off to the picket line

It's just as if he is working on the early shift, the way he rises
In all his body there is not a single idle bone
Gulps a mug of tea and grabs a slice of toast, gives me a quick embrace
And then he's leaving - for the picket line

The mine is deep, the work is hard and the dangers many
There never was a time when coal was easy to win
But now the fight's not only to win coal but for the simple right
To have a job they're fighting - on the picket line

Every night after he's been battling with the scabs and their protectors
I feed him, bathe his bruises, clean and disinfect his wounds
I've always stood behind him but I'll swear from this time on
You'll see me standing right beside him - on the picket line

Contributed by DonQuijote82 - 2011/6/16 - 11:00

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