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Marsh Fork Elementary School: Sundial, WV

In the Grip of Terror at Marsh Fork

Debbie Jarrell, Rock Creek, WV; originally printed as a letter to the editor in the Appalchian Voice, June 2006

Dear Editor,
I hope this finds you doing well. I enjoyed the visit with you and compadres, and I’m sure I’ll be seeing you soon. I am going to attempt to type my poem that I had printed in the newspaper. This was written when I had enough of just sitting quietly by and letting my granddaughter be one of the mice in the world’s dumping ground.


Photo by Kent KessingerI have sat quiet as the shiny sterilized truck marked “radioactive” slips up the hollow at the edge of dark.

I have sat quiet as the coal truck haulage covered by tarp, permeates the air with the stench smell of rancid garbage down Route 3.

I have sat quiet as the dark holes on Montcoal Mountain have been filled in and filled in, giving the impression of undisturbed graves.

I have sat quiet as the hoses have been laid over the edge of the slurry pond under the guise of darkness, pumping out filthy black slurry hurriedly before inspectors came.

I have sat quiet as the run-off from the ponds have been guided to our mountain springs- chemicals added making the water appear clean, preventing the glancing eyes from knowing their dark secrets.

I have sat quiet as the massive dirt dams have been erected, peering out over the mountains and looking as ominous as Godzilla in Hong Kong.

I have sat quiet as one by one our mountains are made to look like flattened biscuit dough as the chef rolls and manipulates it with his hand.

I have sat quiet as the men from the mines get their disability checks for black lung from the air they breathe, yet watch as my granddaughter mounts her schoolbus only to breathe the same air as the miner, day after day.

I have sat quiet as I tell my granddaughter, when rains trouble me, “stay home today, there may be a little flooding” not wanting her to be aware of the dark terror that grips my heart.
I can honestly say I sit quiet no more

VIDEOS: Marsh Fork Elementary

Protests at Marsh Fork Elementary

Courtesy of upcoming documentary: Coal Fired

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