To The Miners

Is the miner a man… or a mole, that tunnels deep down in the earth? 
Blind as a mole, is he, to all that makes life’s worth? 
Is his heart as black as his face? Is his life his own or yours, 
Ye men who grow fat on his toil, on the coal, that he hews as his sweat downpours? 
As you sit by your snug fireside, and you ring the bell for the maid, 
Lest the coal soil your hands, just the slightest bit, …   
Keep them white, for the wage you have paid. 
And what more should the workers ask, than existence he’s scarce e’en a right to? 
Aye, and whenever your greed makes war, he must throw down his tools and fight, too! 
As you warm yourselves by the fire, and your profits and belly grow big, 
The miner grovels belly-long, your wealth from the pit to dig. 
Up to his knees in muck and wet, cut off from the light of day, 
What right has he to a higher wage, who is made of a lower clay? 
Well, may be his SKIN may get black as hell, whilst your dividends he doth dig, 
But is it the miner, or coal-owner, that lives most like a pig? 
He who gets his bread by the sweat of his brow, and the might of his own strong hand, 
Or the royalty owner, whose title is that his forefathers STOLE the land? 
They prate of ‘honest toil” but how much have they ever done, 
Who live upon the worker’s back from father unto son? 
The miner is grimed from head to foot, but I think his soul’s the cleanest, 
For the man who exploits his brother man, of all useless men is the meanest. 
Is the miner a man… or a mole, that tunnels deep down in the earth? 
Blind as a mole, is he, to all that makes life’s worth? 
Is his heart as black as his face? Is his life his own, or yours, 
Ye men who in sloth grow fat on the coal, that he hews, as his sweat downpours? 
What is it makes life’s worth; to possess what another man MADE
And lest one day the robbed should rise in their wrath, to go forever afraid? 
Or scorning the ease that’s bought at the cost of another’s pain, 
To take one’s share in the work of the world, with labour of own hand and brain? 
What is it makes a man; fine clothes upon the back, 
Soft hands and a heart so hard it can let a brother lack? 
Your hands may be hard, but your hearts are soft, and full of courage, and true, 
To feel and fight for a brother’s wrong, and stand up for your own rights too. 
If courage makes man, then of all men the miner is one of the best, 
Was there ever a one of you failed a mate when put to the test? 
“Never mind for me, I’m done, lad, there’s others further on,” 
And you’d risk your lives to save them though the chance were a hundred to one. 
I have asked, are you blind as moles? … Aye, so long as you do not see 
The mockery of a “living wage”, – man only LIVES when he’s free! 
Who gave the earth unto the few, to hold in greedy gripe? 
Plain Robbery, upheld by Law;… REVOLT, the time is ripe! 
Why ask for just a little more of that which is your own? 
Who gets the coal, who grows the corn, ’tis his and his alone 
To share with ALL who share his toil, and NONE for those who shirk; 
No need for money then to buy the fruits of our own work. 
Earth’s storehouse plenty holds for all, labour its only key, 
Away with masters, one and all,… and, workers, we’ll be Free! 

Janet Grove. 

Sept. 29, 1925. 

From The Anarchist: published by the Hammersmith Anarchist Group 1935

Albert Meltzer mentioned her in The Anarchists In London 1935-1955 ‘Janet Grove (resident in the Forest of Dean, and particularly active in the cause of the gypsies) often came up to give a hand at meetings’ (in support of the Spanish Revolution).