Canary’s Song 

“Coal mining is the most dangerous work in our land today 
With plenty of dirty slaving work, and very little pay. 
Coal miner, won’t you wake up, and open your eyes and see 
What the dirty capitalist system is doing to you and me.” 

Sarah Ogan Gunning

Back in many a day gone by, with shovels and picks in hand

The men went down into the dark below to mine for coal all day.

They knew the risk was high and there was very little reward.

But a dollar was a dollar and they needed some way to feed and clothe their babes.

As they descended down deep into the earth

They brought with them a pet to safeguard their work

The yellow canary, a sentinel creature singing merrily along

Unknowing of the danger to which she might befall.

When the canary sings the air is safe

These sensitive little birds know better than we

When the air grows toxic and death stands at the door.

So you’d do well to listen for when they sing no more.

I am a canary did you hear my song?

I sang to you with an open heart

Eyes wide at a world so fresh and new.

My lungs full and my voice strong.

Then you took me into the darkness

And bade me still to sing.

I told you that each note burned inside my throat

You told me I was too sensitive, that the air was clear and good

Even now as the smoke and dust fill my lungs you still say that all is well

The culture is concerned with only that which is “on fleek”.

Fear and suspicion lurk around every bend

Power, privilege, piety, and prejudice surround on all sides, the gods we now praise.

I can no longer sing (cough), I can hardly speak (cough)

We are, all of us dying. Even if you can’t see it, it is no less real.

Hope lives on the next horizon, if only you listen to hear our truth.

Open your eyes, though they bleed. For they can be washed and healed.

Just like the canary whose song was silenced, a sacrifice for the lives of men

There will come those into your life who challenge what you know to be true

Have courage and be kind, knowing that they mean you no harm.

In fact, they may be dying to give you a chance to live.

Racism, bigotry, sexism, xenophobia, islamophobia, and every other inequality

Strangles the future, puts our children in bonds too heavy for the soul to bear.

Mother Earth cries out in pain, her tears are hurricanes and her heart is a famine where once there was a lush green paradise.

Listen to the sensitive ones, they warn of the danger you cannot yet feel.

Open your hearts and lay down your arms

Take a seat around the table, share your stories and fill up your cup

Live to fight another day, but do it side by side

Know the enemy is fear and ignorance, not your common man.

I am a canary; can you hear my song?


My my newest poem. Hope you like it and that it speaks to you.


4 thoughts on “Canary

  1. Dr. Seuss books would help with your composition. Whether a piece is good or bad is in the eye of the beholder, but you didn’t brave the current with canary blather. You have rags and baggage and if you’d need to reign them in,

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