“Lullaby to a Miner’s Child”

“Lullaby to a Miner’s Child”
By Emil Kubek

Oh sleep, my sweet child!…
Underneath the ground bursts…
Do you hear the terrible noise of the earth?…
Your father is working in the mines oh so deep,
When the earth shakes, that’s him who rocks you to sleep.

Oh sleep, my sweet child!
That noise, it’s your dad,
From under the earth he’s bringing home bread;
Deep in the mines he works as hard as he can,
While peacefully dreams his young little man!

Oh you haven’t yet tasted of life’s bitterness,
My dove, my sweet child:
Right now your life’s blessed.
Someday you’ll encounter
Old age and sadness –
You’ll go to mine coal –
Amidst darkness and rubble,
You’ll fight death and will struggle…
But now sweetly sleep,
Like in heaven, my child!
God will make things all right!
Sleep my dear baby, good night!

From the depths of the night some people appear,
Mother answers the door and trembles with fear…

“Don’t cry, poor lady,” they comforted her,
“Your husband’s breathed his last breath.
In the depths of the earth he valiantly worked,
In the depths of the earth he met a quick death!

Oh what a terror! The mine suddenly shook,
A flame blazed in a terrible shock,
In a deafening blast, the walls then collapsed,
And they all were buried in piles of rocks.

Everyone died!…Only we survived
Amongst the smoke and the cries and the strife…
We found your husband just barely alive.
With sadness he quietly asked for his wife:

‘Help me, my dear, my life’s almost done’
And the last words he whispered were meant for his son,
‘Sweetly sleep,
Like in heaven, my child!
God will make things all right!
Sleep my dear orphan, good night!'”

[1908]

Translated by Nick Kupensky


Source

  • Emil Kubek, “Nad kolŷskoyu ditinŷ mainera,” Výber z diela, 2, ed. František Dančák (Prešov: Neziková organizácia Petra, 2010), 10-13.

For more information about anthracite mining in the Coal Region, visit the St. Nicholas Coal Breaker.

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