Red Moon Rising

Coke Ovens on the Mononghela (2)

     Tears flowed like a downpour on a hot summer day. All around, Jennifer could see the wives of the miners in Swift Creek Mine. Earlier that morning, an explosion trapped eight men in the far end of the shaft. Three of Jennifer’s friends were among the women anxiously awaiting their fate.

     The siren on top of the tipple sent shrill chills through the little coal patch. At times like this, the whole neighborhood rushed to the mine for word of who the trapped miners might be. Those whose husbands were safe, stayed to give comfort and support.

A red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills of the Monongahela. Jennifer could only wonder when it would be her time to weep; having a husband and son who worked there.

     Everyone went silent… as the men were carried out… one by one!

Painting of Coke Ovens and Mine: Dwight L. Roth

Prosery today at d’Verse: Lillian gave us the challenge to write a flash fiction of exactly 144 words that includes a given line from Carl Sandburg’s poem, Jazzy Fantasia . The line I included was A red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills…  This story comes from memories of my childhood in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  Many lives were lost in the coal mining industry that supported our steel mills in Pittsburgh at the time.

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When evil stares us in the face, something happens within that turns average people into heroes. In our world tragedies like this are becoming more frequent. It can be easy to start to think this is to be expected and common place. But we cannot become jaded. We cannot give in to the evil always present around us. As we saw people in the midst of the firestorm of bullets risking their own lives to help others, we can see that we are greater than any evil force coming against us. Love overcomes in the end. As the Bible tells us, “Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good!


Let us not become jaded

With reports of senseless violence

Brought to us in living color

Real time action like virtual reality

Worn across our eyes

Let us not become jaded

When shootings and bombings

Happening in a city next door

Or a country far away

Come across the screen in mixed truth

Let us not become jaded

When evil invades our life

Assuming it to simply be the norm

Listening to the talking heads blame one another

Let us not become jaded

Thinking all is lost and evil has won

Don’t believe it do not fear

Brother helps sister when danger is near

Let us not become jaded

For love is not lost

Tragedy brings unity

Realizing what is really important

Is standing arm in arm and hand in hand

Knowing that in the end Love Wins!


The Sleeping Giant



A Sleeping Giant

Lies breathing between continents

In and out its chest rises and falls

A Shrek of a  guy most of the time

Children and adults float

Bouncing on his crest

Squealing with delight

On bubbles of air

But beware

Of the Ides of October

When tossing and turning

Nightmares return

Thrashing coughing

Scaring all who once played on his chest

Fear and trepidation

Waters rise

Winds howl

Floods come up

Big Blow AKA Matthew

Brings Halloween early

All Tricks

No Treats

Wide awake

Nightmare passes

Giant sleeps once more

Fans have nowhere to lay their heads


Painting by Dwight L. Roth