by HELEN GEIB
Come and listen you fellows, so young and so fine,
And seek not your fortune in the dark, dreary mines.
It will form as a habit and seep in your soul,
‘Til the stream of your blood is as black as the coal.
It’s dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew,
Where danger is double and pleasures are few,
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines
It’s dark as a dungeon way down in the mine.
It’s a-many a man I have seen in my day,
Who lived just to labor his whole life away.
Like a fiend with his dope and a drunkard his wine,
A man will have lust for the lure of the mines.
I hope when I’m gone and the ages shall roll,
My body will blacken and turn into coal.
Then I’ll look from the door of my heavenly home,
And pity the miner a-diggin’ my bones.
Lyrics by Merle Travis, 1946
In observance of Labor Day, Commentary Track recommends five films of the miner’s life:
The Proud Valley (1940) (UK) dir Pen Tennyson
The Molly Maguires (1970) (US) dir Martin Ritt
Matewan (1987) (US) dir John Sayles
Harlan County U.S.A. (1976) (US) dir Barbara Kopple
Blind Shaft (2003) (China) dir Yang Li
New releases this week: Killers, MacGruber, Solitary Man