Monday, 19 November 2012


They left, the last of them, some time ago,
Fear drove them out, but fear of what?
Cowards, the lot of them.
They know not from what they run,
As though the sun below should cause such distress;
I confess, I was restless at first
But I stand and attest to their unfounded concerns,
That which burns, it has done so in secret
And the chasms of earth still there keep it.
There is nothing to run from, a concern, benign,
For we no longer go to the mines,

Where there, even Mercury melts
And smelts to its primordial parts.
This is art we have made, a mere accident
Of cataclysmic beauties
That now roars to the chill
Of a thousand degrees.

My neighbours, now shadows and ghosts,
The poisoned remains of their homes
Their pathetic legacy, running frantically
Down roads that simply go
Nowhere anymore.
I do not care, I will not flee, not be tempted
By money, by promises empty as those caves
That apparently, eventually and suddenly
Will claim me.
The poisonous air that would choke Venus' skies
Belies the reality of their irrationality
And the lies they eventually ate -  insanity.
My god, I really do hate them all.
The fall of this town will not happen
As long as I stay my feet
And show them all that it is their white livers
That will see their untimely defeat.

And I say it again, I will not go,

No man should be driven from his home
Which he built ‘til his hands blood-stained the stone.
The devils lair just below my feet
Will not defeat me. Let him rage at me,
Threaten and engage with me,
Burning the very foundations of me.
I swear to him now, wiping sweat from my brow,
And scream through the inferno beneath -
“Hellion, hear me, I will not go!”
Hand my town to the damned should you wish,
I will not be demolished.
Your poisonous gasses, your fiery breath
Will not conflagrate me, I will survive your hell, 

And as your final fires die out
I will stand on your smouldering ruins and show

That even in death, I would not go. 

Copyright © 2012 by Simon Austin

Inspired by the events of Centralia, Pennsylvania
A lone, still occupied house in Centralia, Pennsylvania where a few residents still remain despite the huge mine fire raging beneath the town

Centralia is a borough and ghost town in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States. Its population has dwindled from over 1,000 residents in 1981 to just 10 in 2010, as a result of a mine fire burning beneath the borough since 1962. The cause of the fire is disputed, though it is believed that a routine rubbish tip burning was not properly controlled and therefore spread to the mines underneath.

The fire is expected to continue for at least a further 250 years.

All properties in the borough were claimed under eminent domain by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1992 (and all buildings therein were condemned), and Centralia's ZIP code was revoked by the Postal Service in 2002. However, a few residents continue to reside there in spite of the failure of a lawsuit to reverse the eminent domain claim.