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This poem is taken from PN Review 160, Volume 31 Number 2, November - December 2004.

Four Poems Charles Tomlinson

The Photograph

in memoriam Edwin Albert Raybould

All these men are dead. One of them I knew.
From the silhouette of a blackened pithead
They eye the camera we cannot see -
Collar-and-tie men from the offices -
Brylcreemed hair, bunches of hands on laps -,
Miners in mufflers and with caps as flat
And comfortable as their midland a's.
The one I knew? Sixth from the left and standing.
His history: Passchendaele, Ypres, the Mons Star,
The wounds he kept concealed to get the job
In a hard time - now fireman down this pit,
The one who lights the fuses and breaks through
Into untouched seams waiting for the pick.
Slagheaps, already greening-over, rise
...


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