King Billy Sessions
  Old King Coal  

Under the ground lay Old King Coal,
He lay most peacefully.
He ruled in might and splendour,
There was none so grand as he.
But men came along to tunnel him out
And topple him from his throne.

They tore him down to steal his crown
For the power in the old black stone.

There's fire in the heart of Old King Coal,
There's the strength of centuries in his soul.
There's a power that grows where his black blood flows;
So here's to Old King Coal.

So they scratched him, hacked him, and harried him out
They ripped him from his bed
And they blasted his bones asunder
They'd sworn to see him dead.
Then they carried him out to the sun's bright light
Which blinded him in the eye,
And the blood did drain from every vein
Until they'd drained him dry.

Then they cracked his bones on the grinding stones,
How gleefully they did grind.
Oh how they pulverized him
Turned him to dust so fine.
Then they sprayed him into the furnace fire
And burned him in the air;
With a mighty blast they burned him fast
As he prayed his final prayer.

And his soul cried out with a final song
As he reached his final hour,
And his heart it burst with singing
So mighty was the power.
And he sang the water into steam
And the steam mnade the wheels fly round,
And the song ran on both pure and strong
Till the wires hummed with its sound.

Out of the darkness there comes light,
Out of the earth comes fire;
Out of the cold comes comfort,
As his bones go blazing higher.
And his soul flies out through the air we breathe,
And down on the earth we tread
That humankind may not forget
That Old King Coal is dead.

(John Kirkpatrick)

From a BBC children's programme many years ago.

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