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    Come gather 'round friends
    And I'll tell you a tale
    Of when the red iron pits ran plenty.
    But the cardboard filled windows
    And old men on the benches
    Tell you now that the whole town is empty.

    In the north end of town,
    My own children are grown
    But I was raised on the other.
    In the wee hours of youth,
    My mother took sick
    And I was brought up by my brother.

    The iron ore poured
    As the years passed the door,
    The drag lines an' the shovels they was a-humming.
    'Til one day my brother
    Failed to come home
    The same as my father before him.

    Well a long winter's wait,
    From the window I watched.
    My friends they couldn't have been kinder.
    And my schooling was cut
    As I quit in the spring
    To marry John Thomas, a miner.

    Oh the years passed again
    And the givin' was good,
    With the lunch bucket filled every season.
    What with three babies born,
    The work was cut down
    To a half a day's shift with no reason.

    Then the shaft was soon shut
    And more work was cut,
    And the fire in the air, it felt frozen.
    'Til a man come to speak
    And he said in one week
    That number eleven was closin'.

    They complained in the East,
    They are paying too high.
    They say that your ore ain't worth digging.
    That it's much cheaper down
    In the South American towns
    Where the miners work almost for nothing.

    So the mining gates locked
    And the red iron rotted
    And the room smelled heavy from drinking.
    Where the sad, silent song
    Made the hour twice as long
    As I waited for the sun to go sinking.

    I lived by the window
    As he talked to himself,
    This silence of tongues it was building.
    Then one morning's wake,
    The bed it was bare,
    And I's left alone with three children.

    The summer is gone,
    The ground's turning cold,
    The stores one by one they're a-foldin'.
    My children will go
    As soon as they grow.
    Well, there ain't nothing here now to hold them.

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