National Poetry Day 2013

Poetry, eh?

Many think of it as a nause they went through to get their English GCSE’s.  Is that really the case though? Of course not.

For me, I recall some teenage afternoons cringing as my Dad invited (made) myself and my siblings attend the ‘Poems & Pints’ nights that he’d organise all around the South Wales Valleys and beyond.  From Beaufort Ballroom to Cardiff Prison and the Norwegian Church.  Invariably, they turned out to be good times though; a cracking mix of amateur thespians being whimsical and ‘deep’ and valleys lads with rip-roaring rhymes that would have the crowd cracking up; all interspersed with Dad’s compering that was a knife-edge mix of bad jokes and ‘crossing-the-line’ piss-takes.  Not unlike the way I run Ignite Cardiff in a way.

Now Dad’s gone, from time to time I find solace in reading some of the poems he wrote back in the 80’s and 90’s. I published No More a while back on this blog, but today I wanted to share something that was very close to Dad’s heart.  You can read more on the Aberfan Disaster, but enjoy the poem first.  He certainly had a way with words.


The stars shine like diamonds on Blaina,
as the moonbeams caress Pen-y-fan
But the cold wind still moans as it blows every night
on the mountains above Aberfan

“Act of God” people mouthed without thinking
and the Devil was heard to applaud
Claps of thunder, that rolled on for hours
as they heaped all the blame on the Lord

But in Heaven the choirs stopped singing,
there were angels who stood, heads hung low
Who had built up the tips of destruction
in their Earth years of not long ago

Never thinking a bad thing could happen
All they did then was work for a wage
As they’d turn up five-thirty each morning
To be lowered down the pit in a cage

But the Devil cared not for the decent
Nor the children, all lambs of the Lord
As he sits with the panels of gentry
And he turns them towards his accord

He’s unseen in the form known to mankind
But he walks in the streets of the wise
Then he corrupts them with greed and destruction
As he tells them such beautiful lies

He can arm men in power with malice
Make them callous to pleas of the poor
So they plough on regardless for profit
Then he’ll drive them on further for more

But no collier who ever drew breath there
Would have built up those tips if he’d known
That fulfilling the whims of the master
Would have stolen from parents their own

But the children have all gone to heaven
And their breath is as fresh as the dew
As they play in the garden of glory
Far away from the horror they knew

Time will come when their parents will meet them
And the prayers that they said will be met
And the Lord in his Kingdom will greet them
And they’ll cherish the welcome they get

For the children are smiling and happy
As they were on that day long ago
When the Devil had tried to collect them
But the Lord in his wisdom said, “No”.

Now the pits are all shut down and empty
It should happen no more by that rule
Yet last month a tip moved in Tredegar
Slid to rest twenty yards from a school

Pray to God politicians will heed it
And deny the Devil his plan
Make them flatten the tips and remember
Every child from that town ABERFAN.

2 responses to “National Poetry Day 2013”

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