Charles F. Thomas, Jr
THE WIDE CANYON TUNNEL CAVE-IN
Standing grimly, dark mouth yawning;
Stretching far ‘neath mountain’s crest;
Days are marked by no bright dawning
Where the tunnel hides its breast.
Timbers large, great rocks upholding,
Steel and crown bars keyed and blocked;
Wedge and foot blocks hold unfolding,
Myst’ries Mother Earth has locked.
But as Nature, in great fury
At the secrets from her torn,
Man-made structures break and crumble;
Of their strength she shows her scorn.
Creak! Snap! Shouts! A roar! A grinding!
Dust and ground stench fill the air!
Strong men flee! A safe place finding,
From the dangers hidden there!
Lights are gone! The darkness smothers!
Matches flicker through the haze!
Names are called! Each thinks of others
As they stagger from the maze!
Some men missing? Count each man!
Are they caught beneath that fall?
Were they buried as they ran?
Surely they could hear them call!
But at last there comes faint tapping,
From that fallen mass of ground!
Listen closely! Hear that rapping?
That’s someone a moving ‘round!
For Dame Nature, through some error,
Left a place for one to hide!
And though he was weak with terror,
Soon he crawled to the outside.
But this story has an ending,
Different far from one you’ve read,
With a cheerful color lending
To a tale of fearsome dread.
©Copyright 1936 by Charles F. Thomas, Jr.
Berdoo Camp, California
Note: My Grandfather worked underground, owning a coalmine in Colorado for a while, as a superintendent on the Aqueduct, Hoover, Coulee and other dam diversion tunnels and tunneling and Reclamation projects. He worked most the time for our Government but I feel his heart was always with those doing the dirty work and was never above getting into the “muck” himself. He was also a poet and here is a part of one of his mine poems from his book, “THE AQUEDUCT”.
Del “Abe” Jones