San José Mine, Chile: “Chile Has Been Lifted Up”

Chile Has Been Lifted Up

{Mario Gómez In The Mine With God and Friends 2 (edit)}

In the din of sorrow August 5th,
some did say chances were slim
But No!

President Piñera that day
felt 33 alive to pray

Drill, drill, drill, for
bore holes will see
each miracle to be.

Up a skinny borehole August 22
two red notes on a drilling hammer read:
well in the refuge the 33, with hope and life
Mario Gómez, and give
this love letter to my wife

Then all Chile knew
God is not confined to stars
to mountains and valleys
to merchant ships

He dwells in every
interstitial place where
souls may lie and pray

It is said
there is a task of redemption
for every stowaway on
His ship of saints

Could be
some will return with a ticket

It is said
for a bit of chocolate
and the taste of heaven,
Mario Gómez was
a miner for God
and for Chile

Luis Urzúa was his navigator
did the charts

In the hearts of the mine
there were stars, and

down tubes
little packets of food
messages from loved ones

In the hearts of the mine
there were card games
friendships, a diet for
a small waist that’ll fit
in the rescue shaft to come

God minds the miners
gives them strength
an image of family
a bit of chocolate

Chile has capsule, crane and heart.
There are stars in the mine
and stars above.

We lift them together
where sons and Sun may rise

The surface.
Double-thumbs up from ninth man out:
this October thirteen, the writer is seen
Mario Gómez
waving the Chilean flag
embracing his wife, and
kneeling in prayer

We will lift them all united
the 33, with Chile, God
and family

—Douglas Gilbert


3 thoughts on “San José Mine, Chile: “Chile Has Been Lifted Up”

  1. I’m SO glad they have all been rescued now! I kept getting teary-eyed every time they would bring another man up and I am just so happy they rescued them before december (wasn’t that the original month they estimated?). Personally I would have lost my mind trapped like that for months.
    I got annoyed at a customer at work who asked me to change the TV channel to ESPN instead of the miner-rescue. I suppose sports news is more important to some…
    Great revision on your poem, I like how you added the date and some details of the rescue, it brought the poem around in a complete circle, made it feel more finished now that there is an outcome to the situation.

    1. Thanks very much. But now that I’m re-reading it, I see a lot of awkward spots. I guess I was in too much of a hurry to update it to try to grab onto the bandwagon effect. But it reads too much like a political or patriotic polemic. I just listed too many facts and did not provide any emotional intensity. I guess it’s because I didn’t know any of the real conversations. Maybe I should stick to fictional poems where I can make up things that fit the rhythm and rhyme, can make up more convenient scenarios, make up names that sound better etc… I suppose it would make a funny play or satire where a fictional poet approaches the protagonists and says, Mr. President, Mr. X etc. could you please change your name so it fits my play better and can so it can be put to song and could you say your marriage is happy even if it isn’t because I’m writing a happy inspiring musical and in these bad times I want a song like “Happy Days Are Here Again.” (I think I read somewhere that in the song “I love Paris in the Spring time…” that spring was chosen because it rhymed better but that the author actually hated Paris in Spring because the weather was generally bad)…. Anyway, this has been a long rationalization on why the poem didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. Maybe I’ll come back to it at a later time. But, at the moment, I’m inclined to think I’ve ruined it, or the original version wasn’t that good either. But I do notice that I feel more emotion with some of my fictional poems… Oh well. There is more information coming out now but I don’t know if I feel like dealing with this subject anymore .
           Hmm, I wonder if people who turn away to ESPN are jealous of the hero status and compassion shown to the miners, and can’t identify with miners, but can identify with their team. Of course, Chileans here can feel them as ‘our team of miners’, our heroes… oh yes, and in fact the President of Chile joked about challenging the miners to a soccer match I think. Sports identification is a strange thing because sports is such a symbolic war dance, symbolic battle and quest….

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