Skip to content

Hallowed Ground, A Poem by Phil Woods

October 6, 2016
Evergreen Cemetery: mounds on the ground are unmarked graves of between 1500 and 2000 people buried in the 1880s, 1890s. It is estimated that three quarters of these are of Irish miners, average age 23 years.

Evergreen Cemetery Leadville: mounds on the ground are unmarked graves of between 1500 and 2000 people buried in the 1880s, 1890s. In some places evergreen trees are growing atop the largely uncared-for graves. It is estimated that three quarters of these are of Irish miners who worked the area’s silver mines, average age 23 years.

HALLOWED GROUND

Stare at sunken Irish graves unmarked in Leadville’s Evergreen Commentary.

The bagpipe has stopped playing.The folk singer has ended her warm up song.

The stories are so moving,colorful, funny & tragic of equal measure.

I recall being at the Little Big Horn.

We like to call battlefields—hallowed ground.

At one time Leadville was forty thousand —eighty percent Irish. Mostly lead & silver miners making three dollars a day at ten thousand feet.

Too broke to put up a tombstone. Dying like flies in their twenties. Dying as infants, mothers in childbirth.

My friend Jim Walsh, says they would come out of the heat of the mines in winter & have their sweat soaked clothes freeze right to their skin like being armored in ice. Pneumonia,

TB, influenza, no wonder these survivors of the famine, maybe two thousand died & now lie in sunken, forgotten graves in a high alpine meadow with old pine growing in amongst their spent bones.

Yes, hallowed ground, not of military battle, but fierce class war.

Once again saying the history of America can never be told by Disney.

The strike leader—Michael Mooney—had the audacity to say he & his owned a corner of our flag because they sweated & bleed for it.

That is why it is a sacred place to begin to understand the heart breaking truth about this land of promise & betrayal.

__________

photos by Rob Prince

 

former Denver City Auditor, Dennis Gallagher addressing an audience at Everygreen Cemetery in Leadville, Colorado, where, on October 3, 2016, those present held a wake for those 1500 to 2000 buried in unmarked graves, some three-fourths of them estimated to have been Irish miners, average age 23. Gallagher's remarks were genuinely touching.

former Denver City Auditor, Dennis Gallagher addressing an audience at Everygreen Cemetery in Leadville, Colorado, where, on October 3, 2016, those present held a wake for those 1500 to 2000 buried in unmarked graves, some three-fourths of them estimated to have been Irish miners, average age 23. Gallagher’s remarks were genuinely touching.

 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Liam O'doud permalink
    October 8, 2016 10:53 am

    Why didn’t the miners just vote in a good government?
    Or, why didn’t they just change jobs,
    Or just go back to school?
    After all, somebody had to do the mining work.
    They were lucky to have a job at all.
    I mean, they were just immigrants…right?
    I mean, why didn’t they just stay in Ireland?
    I am just greatful that these conditions don’t exist anymore.
    Thank god for technology.
    What time does the football game start?

  2. Stan Current permalink
    October 10, 2016 8:21 pm

    This is heartrending. These fine young men being used up and thrown away like trash after enriching silver barons like Horace Tabor and US Government. This is hallowed ground Congress needs to recognize. Miners still aren’t being protected. Kept hearing Long Journey Home. This is heartrending. God Bless All Of You remembering them. I will, too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkS-AUL-BuA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: