More FM's Gary McCormick fights back tears reading his Pike River poem on 10th anniversary of mining tragedy

More FM host Gary McCormick has shared the poem he wrote in honour of the victims of the Pike River mine tragedy a decade on from the 2010 explosion that killed 29 people. 

On the 10th anniversary of the disaster, McCormick took a moment to revisit the piece of poetry he wrote focusing on 17-year-old miner Joseph Ray Dunbar, who lost his life shortly after getting a job at Pike River. 

"I ws grappling with the whole thing myself, and then I heard the story of Joseph... he went down two days early I think, because he was so keen," McCormick said. 

"I wrote this poem called Seventeen, because the only way I could get a handle on it was talking about Joseph Ray Dunbar." 

McCormick fought back tears as he read out his poem on air on Thursday morning, which is printed below. 

Seventeen by Gary McCormick 

Joseph Ray Dunbar was just seventeen.

One week ago - turned seventeen.

No doubt had a few drinks out

with his mates.

He'd been through a rough patch, someone said.

Who doesn't??!

A boy from the Coast, even-eyed.

But he's gotten a job now.

New boots.

The making of him, someone said.

You get a lot of respect with a job.

Couldn't wait!

Probably had his lunch packed.

The unlined face, the big smile.

Probably had a way with the girls.

The local girls.

Couldn't wait!

The local girls are wearing black.

Mothers and sons and husbands too.

He probably ran the last hundred yards....

Joseph Ray Dunbar.

Climbed aboard and headed on down.

A smile and a wave and a joke amongst men.

The biggest day of Joseph's life.

You caught the train, Joseph.

You took the train too soon.

You caught the train before your time.