The Miner (by H J Ensor 1946)

The following comes from a 1946 Free Press news clipping sourced by Trev Ashmore. I've transcribed accurately the full titled column, which gives self explanatory reason for finding this work by Mr Ensor.

In a recent literary competition for miners of the North Midland Regional Area, the following poem was submitted by Mr. H. J. Ensor, of Huthwaite, and was bracketed second place. Subsequently Mr. Ensor has been informed by the Regional Recruitment Officer, that owing to his meritorious entry, it has been found possible to award him a prize of £1.   The prizes are to be presented at a public meeting at Mansfield by Mr. Gaitskell, M.P. Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power.


All are looking to the miner (tho' regardless of his toil)
To move the wheels of industry, or make the kettle boil;

To light the shops and cinemas, to touch productions peak
With shelves and ships so weighted down that both begin to creak.

It all lies at the miner, with his willing hand and heart,
To keep the country on its feet and play his thankless part;

His skill and sinew find full scope, day, afternoon and night,
And he can win a host of friends - by keeping out of sight.

The outside public does not know, and also doesn't care,
How the miner earns his daily bread, the risks he has to share;

To leave the upper world of light and fragrant summer days;
His critics don't do half the work, but yet get all the praise.

And if the wheels of industry slow down for lack of stream,
They cry: "Where is the miner; has he dropped into a dream?"

And if the target he exceeds by fifty thousand ton,
They only yell: "Work harder still, the winter's coming on."

The miner's quite a normal soul, and not by heaven made,
To end his days in what has been the most exclusive trade;

To grovel in a three-foot seam, its dangers oft unseen,
Is quite a pleasant mode of life - to those who've never been.

True, his brain is sometimes dormant, but his pluck is always there,
And shines forth when others would despair;

Quick to stretch a rescuing hand (he never ponders twice),
He looks for no reward for that it's in the "getting price".

Few other folks would face the task the miner has to do,
They'd sooner run another way, so it's up to me and you;

If the old maintain their effort, and the young ones do likewise,
The wheels will keep revolving and the export figures rise.

Small need of coal in open grates in these enlightened days,
Electricians and science folk are treading newer ways;

Some people light a jet of gas (and that is all they care),
And others touch a tiny switch, and light and power are there.

Let craftsman make equipment that keeps dirt and smoke away,
The toiling miner's working week be shortened by a day;

Then light, and warmth, and cleanliness would be the price of all
With the aid of modern science, and the "wizard on the wall".

Our Shinwell's got a heavy task, the hardest of them all,
It should be on no man's conscience that he let production fall;

Good things are round the corner, we shall gain them one by one,
A dignified profession means recruits to share the bun.

One Union invincible is but the outward sign
That the miner's hopes are coming home and shaping into line;

His wand'rings in the wilderness are very nearly done,
His name no longer Ishmael, his proper status won.

Just now the need is urgent and the crisis must be met,
And a lofty sense of duty never failed the nation yet;

In war, or peace, or aftermath, the miner fills the bill
And, to all those who know his worth, is Britains bulwark still.



Written 12 Feb 08 Revised 25 Feb 09 © by Gary Elliott