The Miner's Lullaby

Utah Phillips

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Once, long ago, he was handsome and tall
And fit to be called to the war
We left our village, family and all
To never return any more

Now he takes his coat, his bucket and lamp
And whistles away to the cage
Where men young and old from all over the camp
Gather in search of a wage

Husband, sleep, lay your head back and dream
A slow fallen leaf borne down to the stream
Then carried away on the wings of morphine
Homeward far over the sea

My husband and I are Roman in faith
And we have a secret to keep
If ever his life is taken away
Then gentle and long will he sleep
Now some men pass with family around
And linens and blankets so clean
But seldom a miner goes underground
Without his tin of morphine

Husband, sleep, lay your head back and dream
A slow fallen leaf borne down to the stream
Then carried away on the wings of morphine
Homeward far over the sea

And now here's a word, an explosion is heard
The miners are trapped far below
If any survived down there alive
I'm certain we never will know

Although our families have vainly appealed
No rescue attempt can be seen
Our hope for loved ones in the dark earth sealed
Now lies in a tin of morphine

Husband, sleep, lay your head back and dream
A slow fallen leaf borne down to the stream
Then carried away on the wings of morphine
Homeward far over the sea
Homeward far over the sea