The Explosion

A poem by Philip Larkin

On the day of the explosion
Shadows pointed towards the pithead.
In the sun the slagheap slept.

Down the lane came men in pitboots
Coughing oath-edged talk and pipe-smoke,
Shouldering off the freshened silence.

One chased after rabbits; lost them;
Came back with a nest of lark's eggs;
Showed them; lodged them in the grasses.

So they passed in beards and moleskins
Fathers brothers nicknames laughter
Through the tall gates standing open.

At noon there came a tremor; cows
Stopped chewing for a second; sun
Scarfed as in a heat-haze dimmed.

The dead go on before us, they
Are sitting in God's house in comfort,
We shall see them face to face--

plain as lettering in the chapels
It was said and for a second
Wives saw men of the explosion

Larger than in life they managed--
Gold as on a coin or walking
Somehow from the sun towards them

One showing the eggs unbroken.

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