“Another Fall of Earth” [poem by Grant Hervey]

[Editor: This poem by Grant Hervey was published in Australians Yet and Other Verses, 1913.]

“Another Fall of Earth”

“Another heavy fall of earth occurred yesterday in the western cross-cut of the Golden Cat Proprietary Mine, killing three men who were stopping there.” — Mining fatality item from any issue of the daily paper.

Just another fall of earth —
Nothing to disturb the mirth
Of cheerful speculators lolling in their spacious chairs ;
Just a ton or two of dirt,
Just another few men hurt —
Just another corpse-battalion rolling down Gehenna’s stairs !
Naught to cause the least alarm,
No directors came to harm,
They possess a special charm —
They are never standing under when the rock falls unawares !

Just another accident —
Merely two or three souls sent
Down the track that leads past chaos to the tailing-dumps of Hell —
Where the mighty roaring stamps,
As they thunder on their ramps,
Pound the hearts of fat shareholders and director-men as well !
Just another fall of earth —
Caused by cursed timber-dearth,
Really nothing that ’tis worth
While to mention unto Divès as he dines at his hotel !



Source:
Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 229-230

Editor’s notes:
Divès = presumably this is a general reference to the “rich man” as the owner of the mine; dives is Latin for “rich” and was traditionally used to mean “rich man” (in earlier church usage, the rich man in the New Testament parable of the rich man and Lazarus, in Luke 16:19-31, came to be known as Dives); it is possible that it is a reference to Dis Pater, the Roman god of the underworld (from Dives Pater, “Father of Riches”), but the reference to Dives as the mine owner seems more likely

Gehenna = a place or state of torment or suffering, hell; a Latin word, from the Greek Geenna, which came from the Hebrew Gē’ Hinnōm, a reference to the valley of Hinnom (a valley south of Jerusalem) which had gained a fearsome and evil reputation among Jews because of barbarous events that took place there (by the time of the New Testament, it had come to mean a reference to Hell, e.g. Matthew 5:22, 5:29; Mark 9:43)

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