Bland On Bland – Mining

Photo By Jools Thatcher
Photo By Jools Thatcher

The theme for this week’s JVG Radio Method poem is “Mining”

Well, technically this poem isn’t about mining – but the way I view things, if you start digging tunnel’s you’re mining and this poem is definitely about tunnels.
Make sense?
No it doesn’t to me either.

Ed Bates is once again on the guitar duties this week

Play this poem directly in your browser! Just click the “play” button below:


“Necessity” we know “Is the mother of invention”
“Spanner” Chaplee having proved that point too many times to mention

But one venture was so bold it left his closest friends dumbfounded
To rebel against injustice when his parents had him grounded

Frankie Hayes was a psycho, a complete and total nutter
Fists as hard as granite and a brain as soft as butter

He was pinged for stealing car badges, of course denied the crime
He swore they came from “Spanner” and poor “Spanner” did the time

Three months, no friends, no hobbies and into bed by eight
Apart from school banned from setting foot outside the gate

But they couldn’t stop him thinking, lying captive in his bed
All the tools he needed were stored inside his head

He resolved to build a tunnel from the backyard to the park
To smuggle in supplies and rendezvous there after dark

But he couldn’t blow his nose without unwarranted suspicion
He’d have to turn to others for his dream to reach fruition
But who amongst his comrades could he trust to head the mission

“Squirrel” had his talents but his strength lay in the arts
“Rabbit” had the all round skills but no head for reading charts

Bruno, way too tall for navigating through tight places
“Pig” – well let’s just say his mum still tied his laces

There was only really one with both the brains and temperament
The guts, flair, the intellect – and that was Lindy Dent

Holidays were looming and given “Spanner’s” blanket ban
Time was running out to formulate their plan

“Spanner” scribbled notes and stashed them by the playground fence
Then Lindy drew up diagrams so the scribbles made some sense

Gathered shovels, torches, picks – and sundry tools, all mine related
Not stolen as the neighbours claimed, merely appropriated

The park to “Spanner’s” drive way, Lindy measured it with care
Then cut a length of string to match, for safety, cut a spare

While “Spanner” dug a shaft behind the shed that housed the chooks
You know that corner of the block where no one ever looks

Six foot deep and vertical, an old car door for a cover
Told his parents he was gardening which seemed to satisfy his mother

Meanwhile, in the park, they’d advanced their preparations
Amidst a tangling of tea tree they commenced their excavations

Lindy, “Squirrel”, “Rabbit”; gladly gave their time for free
Since demand outstripped supply, “Pig” was far more mercenary

He wouldn’t scratch his nuts without first discussing pay
Two “Sunny Boys”, ten Musk Sticks and four Sherbet Bombs per day

Labour costs resolved they burrowed deep into the hill
Reinforced with off-cuts “Bruno” salvaged from the mill

Lindy with a compass to ensure they kept on track
One hundred foot to burrow they disappeared into the black

Their route would take them eastwards underneath the lane
Beneath the Balzac’s front yard, avoiding the stormwater drain

Then a right hand turn southwards, below the Beasley’s drive
Then east again, to “Spanner’s” shaft – if they made it there alive

“Rabbit”, a claustrophobic, underground was not much good
So instead he spread the soil they’d dug across the neighbourhood

Ten foot a day they reckoned, and a week into their dig
Disaster struck – chicken pox; All came down bar “Pig”

As “Rabbit” later noted, “This episode confirms”
“Pig” is just as loathsome to viruses and germs”

Any minor hic up and usually “Pig” was gone
But the treasure trove of Sherbet Bombs and Musk Sticks drove him on

“Pig” set out alone, madly following the string
Protected by his ‘Flash’ Gordon gold magnetic ring

Now a magnet near a compass rocks the needle back and forth
So instead of heading south he began to tunnel north

Dreaming of the lollies as he hauled load after load
Unbeknown to him he’d burrowed straight under the road

Half way back he spied a glint and not hindered by a brain
He whacked it with his pick; It was alas, the water main

A gush of water shot out pinning “Piggsy” to the wall
Seems his ‘Flash’ Gordon ring had no special powers at all

He frantically dug upwards, had he finally met his match?
Then his head broke through the surface into the Scholl’s vegie patch

Mrs Scholl, nearly blind, called her husband to her aid
“This cabbage’s gone to seed luv, you better bring the spade”

She turned to fetch her secateurs lying by the silver beat
By then “Pig” had hopped the fence and was half way up the street

The water in the meantime had reached the tunnel’s end
With no where else to go it had no choice but to ascend

It erupted in the Hayes’ backyard, barely missed their home
Not so lucky Moses, their beloved garden gnome

Then the tunnel walls collapsed, all above dropped in the hole
The road, the fence, the vegie patch along with Mrs Scholl

Once the mains had been repaired and damage’s revealed
They found a box of Holden badges Frankie had concealed

“Spanner” received a pardon, the flood had cleared his name
As for those who built the tunnel, poor old Frankie copped the blame

“Squirrel”, “Rabbit”, Lindy soon recovered from the pox
“Pig” received his sherbet bombs – each year he gets a box

To any children listening let me make it very clear
Don’t go digging tunnels, that’s a job for engineers

The consequences dire for any non compliance
Remember tunnel’s built by poets aren’t bound by rule of science

“I had to fall into a hole” said “Pig’ accidentally profound
“To appreciate the value of life above the ground”

© Copyright 2010 Ian Bland

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.