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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006 08:23 am

People’s poetry

Edited by Corrine Frisch

This poem, a response to last month’s mine  disaster in West Virginia, is written from the perspective of those waiting aboveground. The earth itself becomes a character in the story. The “black diamonds” can be seen as the miners themselves.
Lonely Vigil
They wait,
all through the endless night,
standing in small groups,
Trying to keep
the fear from showing.
Far beneath the rough, green hills
the earth has taken offense
at the onslaught,
the constant attack
upon a dark world that began
when clumsy dinosaurs
sipped nectar
from pomegranate trees
before falling beneath a shifting,
swallowing world
at war with itself.
The black diamonds lay far beneath
these vigilant, waiting watchers.
Just before dawn
they cease their lonely vigil,
understanding that once again
an angry, hungry earth
has swallowed the small creatures
who dared to scale its throat.

— Dorthy M. Ross
Dorthy Ross was named Springfield Woman of the Year in 1982. She lives on a farm near Rochester with her husband and son and is active in the Rochester Historical Preservation Society.
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