Courthouse – thurs 19 – jonathan

News 20 August 2010 | 0 Comments

…. black dark dust, confined spaces…. looking for a seam, hacking away at an impenetrable wall
keep hacking, something in there, beams holding up a floor seperating us from the gold or coal ar whatever the bloody hell we’re mining forcharcoal and dust
Maggie was Patience Kershaw the other day…. crawling dust laden through too small a space for a barrowfull of dead black coal…
maybe she had some pity for the moth bashing itself off the light on the miners helmet, the only bit of feminine spirit to be allowed into this black seam
…if i could catch you i’d crush you with my filthy hand.

Dominic, you reminded me of a miner I met in the Arigna mines in Roscommon, I imagined you mining that wall leaving behind the jet black dust….
The wood you carried out into the street made me see you carrying your axe head home to be sharpened for the next day’s work…

I dunno if it’s the Courthouse or the town itself and it’s setting, but stories keep hitting me in the head, they’re vague and unformed but they’re there…
and although they’re not happy, they’re life…

Testimony of Patience Kershaw
Testimony of Patience Kershaw(Frank Higgins)It’s good of you to ask me, Sir, to tell you how I spend my daysDown in a coal black tunnel, Sir, I hurry corves to earn my pay.The corves are full of coal, kind Sir, I push them with my hands and head.It isn’t lady-like, but Sir, you’ve got to earn your daily bread.I push them with my hands and head, and so my hair gets worn away.You see this baldy patch I’ve got, it shames me like I just can’t say.A lady’s hands are lily white, but mine are full of cuts and segs.And since I’m pushing all the time, I’ve got great big muscles on my legs.I try to be respectable, but sir, the shame, God save my soul.I work with naked, sweating men who curse and swear and hew the coal.The sights, the sounds, the smells, kind Sir, not even God could know my pain.I say my prayers, but what’s the use? Tomorrow will be just the same.Now, sometimes, Sir, I don’t feel well, my stomach’s sick, my head it aches.I’ve got to hurry best I can. My knees are weak, my back near bAnd then I’m slow, and then I’m scared these naked men will batter me.But they’re not to blame, for if I’m slow, their families will starve, you see.Now all the lads, they laugh at me, and Sir, the mirror tells me why.Pale and dirty can’t look nice. It doesn’t matter how hard I try.Great big muscles on my legs, a baldy patch upon my head.A lady, Sir? Oh, no, not me! I should’ve been a boy instead.I praise your good intentions, Sir, I love your kind and gentle heartBut now it’s 1842, and you and I, we’re miles apart.A hundred years and more will pass before we’re standing side by sideBut please accept my grateful thanks. God bless you Sir, at least you tried

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