Elegy for Farmington

November 20 marks the 54th Anniversary of the Farmington Mining Disaster. I am reposting in honor of miners and families who died, survived, and who still grieve.

An Elegy for Farmington
November 20, 1968

There were ninety-nine miners who tried
In the Consol Number 9
To earn their wage, punch the clock
Ride the slope, pick the rock,
Descend into the invisible fog
Released by the pile of Gog.*
Ninety-nine miners who worked inside
The Consol Number 9.

On the 20th day of November
The cold and the damp and the weather
Pushed the air down
To hang heavy inside
The Consol Number 9.

A blast shook the earth
As the third shift worked
Ignited the depths of the mine,
Trapped seventy-eight miners,
Farmington’s pride,
In the Consol Number 9.

Rescuers searched while their families prayed
Only 21 made it alive.
For a week they worked trying to find
The miners who were trapped inside.
Trapped inside but trapped alive,**
In the Consul Number 9?

Llewellyn belched a hellish smog***
It filled the valley with fog.
To stop the fire, they sealed the mine
With the seventy-eight miners inside
The Fathers and brothers, 
Farmington’s pride,
In the Consol Number 9.

To this day, the families remember
That cold 20th day of November
The seventy-eight miners we worked beside,
The nineteen whom we never did find,
Our friends, our fathers, the brothers who died
In the Consol Number 9.

*A mine’s Gog Pile is the coal mining rock refuse which may release hazardous methane gas.
**Though many held out hope that miners would be found alive, after the initial blasts not many felt any would have survived.
***Llewellyn is the mine shaft where the explosion exited.

1. Number 1 fan shaft James Matish
2. Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
3. Rescue crew entering the mine, from NMHSA
4. Miners rescued by a bucket photo by Bob Campione
5. Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
6. Coal miner testing for methane gas photo by John Brock
7. From an article on 49th anniversary of the disaster by Brittany Murray/MetroNews

© Randall Edwards 2021
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About randamir

I pastor Grace Presbyterian Church in Kernersville, North Carolina which locals fondly refer to as K-vegas -- the town not the church. As D.T. Niles once said, "I am not important except to God."

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