Hello miners my old foe (Sound of Silence)

A poem by Jens Korff, Creative Spirits (NSW)

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The following lyrics are to be sung to the tune of 'Sound of Silence' by Simon and Garfunkel.

Hello miners, my old foe
You’ve come to have another go
Because your pits are constantly creeping
Into the land that we have been dreaming
And the vision that keeps hitting my old brain
Is what remains
From the proceeds of mining

With reckless means you wreak alone
Ancient-old songlines to the bone
Show disrespect for sacred sites
And chose to follow only Western rites
When your eyes show greed for the cash of a single night
What riches might
Keep fuelling all that mining

And in the naked land you saw
Ten billion dollars, maybe more
You are taking without speaking
To the elders you would not listening
People writing laws that never can be fair
No one dare
Challenge these laws of mining

“Fools” said I, “You do not know
What lies in the ground below
Watch the spirit that might teach you
When in its cave you might break too"
But my foes are deaf without gain or sell
And nourish their wealth with mining

And politicians bowed and prayed
To the mining god they made
They wanted cash without warming
To all the protest that was forming
And the PM said “The words of the profits
Are written in Australian law
And government all
Supports the way of mining

I've written the lyrics above as close to the original rhymes as possible to preserve the sound of the song. Note that I am non-Aboriginal.

Compare with the original lyrics


Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets
Are written on subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence

Image of a sacred site destroyed after mining activities


You are free to use my lyrics if you attribute copyright to me and link to this page. Just copy this line:

© Lyrics by Jens Korff, Creative Spirits (source)

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Cite this page

Korff, J 2021, Hello miners my old foe (Sound of Silence), <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/arts/poems/hello-miners-my-old-foe>, retrieved 25 July 2024

Creative Spirits is a starting point for everyone to learn about Aboriginal culture. Please use primary sources for academic work.

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