Red And Black

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I’m a Black Country wench
Born where men and women made nails
For their own coffins
And chains to enslave themselves.
Red by day and black by night,
Red and black:
Fire and soot.
Iron ore and coal dust are in my bones and blood.
My great-great-granddad Charlie
Like his blacksmith father before him
Made iron baskets and buckets in Bilston.
Another was down the mine at nine or ten
Hewing coal all his life
Red hair and black lungs.
Though the family moved away
Went north to other mines
The magnet in the blood
Drew my father back to stay
And I was made
In the Black Country.

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