This poem won 2nd prize in The Elmet Open Poetry Competiton, 2012, judged by Kathleen Jamie. It subsequently appeared in Antiphon.
when you bore through. Dig
into layers of fireclay, galliard,
the brittle strata of sandstone.
When grit sets your teeth on edge,
don’t give up, even if you hit a layer
of bastard stone or strong blue bind.
Don’t look back at the pinhole
of daylight shining above you
but take a deep breath, swallow
ironstone, fossilized shells,
eat your way through ganister,
toothsome silica, until you reach
the soft coal bed, then lie down,
let the weight of the world settle.