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Man-made, ebony heaps,
sat like parasites,
on the stone-hard,
God-made, natural peaks,
threatening existence,
core gutted, inside out.
Long tar hued shadows,
cast doubt on light and future.

Miners, tenor marched
from black faces, toward
singing home grey towns,
glad to be alive,
pit proud, related to the buried dead,
while, women prepared
tin bath water on open fires:
Rub- a- dub- dub,
my sons are in the tub.
Home safe again!
Houses joined in rows
snaked the valley, stone-thick,
their doors ajar
for neighbours sake....no robbers here!
Through windows,
parlours set for tea and cake.
Dressers china laden,
tablecloths rigor mortised starched.

Underground the unclean pick-toil,
the scrubbed nightshift dreamed,
sea fortnights,
victory over England
and Bristol girls.

Below, their wives
in cobbled yards,
mundane gossiped
of washing and prices.
Proud of judged
snow-white lines
of vests and pants.

Aged ex-colliers
walked lung-tired slow,
rich with danger.
Remembered lost colleagues,
truncheons,
foreign police and strikes,
work lonely, blue scarred,
white scarf,
capped from iron dai.
Their breath thinner
than depleted seams,
tired of a racking future

Saturday bookmakers
sat in bars, collecting illegal slips.
Punters day-dreamed
of four from four,
to escape entombment.
The pub loud,
everyman an expert
on today’s oval ball game,
where tactics abound,
who should play?
Shouting, near to fainting.

Social Club committee
pondered future social entertainment.
Weekend singing rooms
aped Italian ‘La Scala’
The elderly sat tearstained,
remembered past singers.
Big drinkers, fighters,
sang their turn at arias,
angelic gifted everyone

Valley boys ran on slopes;
Marshalls of whole mountains,
defending the hilltops
from the lads from other valleys;
they ran ragged,
chased sheep
sailed and swam in feeders.
Away all day protectors;
valley secured for another day.

Mothers as young as six,
pushed china-faced babies,
drew squares on pavements,
threw balls at walls
While under their street playground,
their fathers and brothers,
pushed drams,
drew on reserves,
threw picks at face.

Parents placed academic emphasis,
'study and you’ll work in Swandiff'.'
Pit owners rubbed their hands
and praised the choir,
paid for sons
and daughters private schools.

Life fidgeted and fussed along….
as sheep still roamed,
women hoped
and children Gaelic sang.




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Comments

The following comments are for "How Keen was my Valley?"
by ograd77

how keen
wonderful story...such is the mining town

( Posted by: cmsmuse [Member] On: October 27, 2010 )

Welsh Miners
Ian,

My wife is the daughter of a North Walian miner so I really supose i should not comment on the beauty of this piece of Welsh history. (The only peoplw the North welsh hate more than the english are South Walians!)

This is a superb piece and joking aside could just as easily been written obout Greford where my Father-in-Law worked (with Chester being substituted for Bristol)

You have completly captured the the lifestyle of these mining communities. They are not in the so distant past as some would think!

My hat (or flat cap) is off to you....

Ivor

( Posted by: ivordavies [Member] On: October 28, 2010 )

How Green?
I do not recall much about my Mum, but I know her favorite movie was HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, and so I had to read this. She loved Maureen OHara, who did a lot of Welsh, Irish movies, and she was in love with Walter Pidgeon, but what lady of the times was not?
Pix of my Mum younger, show she indeed looked like Maureen OHara, right down to the flaming natural red hair. Good work here.

I have not read all of this yet, but shall this afternoon.

( Posted by: veebdosa [Member] On: October 28, 2010 )

How Green Was My Valley
Ron...HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY was/is a favorite of mine too! And yes...Walter Pidgeon was every woman's fantasy back then! Maureen O'Hara was very popular...especially when she starred with John Wayne! Talk about opposites attracting!

Too bad she's not around to bask in her son's literary light...but you just know sh's beaming with pride when she reads your poems.

Ian...You've so beautifully captured the mood...it's hard to think you weren't down in the mines with them!

Bea

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: October 30, 2010 )

Ron::
I meant your MOTHER was not around to read your poems...wish we could instantly correct these typos after publishing, but the only way is to delete it, correct it and wait for it to appear again.

Wish there were an easier way!

Bea

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: October 30, 2010 )





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