To be Welsh in the Rhondda

 

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To be Welsh in the Rhondda Valley
 
To be Welsh in the Rhondda Valley
is to change buses at the roundabout in Porth;
it’s to speak the language of steam and coal,
with an accent that grates like anthracite —
no plum in the mouth for us;
no polish, just spit and phlegm
that cut through dust and grit,
pit-head elocution lessons hacked from the coal-face
or purchased in the corner store at Tonypandy.

And we sing deep, rolling hymns
that surge from suffering and the eternal longing
for a light that never breaks underground
where we live out our lives and no owners roam.

Here flame and gas spell violent death.
The creaking of the pit-prop
warns of the song-bird soon to be silent in its cage …
… and hymn and heart are stopped in our throats,
when, after the explosion, the dust settles down,
and high above us the black crowds gather.

19 thoughts on “To be Welsh in the Rhondda

  1. “Actually, I am a “parrot” and I end up imitating the accent of whoever am talking with.”

    Uhhh…yes, and which is always met by my children, with much rolling of eyes and comments of, “Ohgoodlord, there she goes again…”!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good morning, R: This poem is wonderful. Outstanding. You’ve taken me there. Cheers, Chuck

    On Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 9:54 AM, rogermoorepoetdotcom wrote:

    > rogermoorepoet posted: ” To be Welsh in the Rhondda Valley To be Welsh > in the Rhondda Valley is to change buses at the roundabout in Porth; it’s > to speak the language of steam and coal, with an accent that grates like > anthracite — no plum in the mouth for us; no poli” >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Chuck. The Welsh poems were always something different. On or near the coalfield everybody knew somebody whose family worked in the mines. As a result, an underground explosion touched the whole community. Everybody was affected because we all always knew someone, man, woman, or child, who was involved.

      Liked by 1 person

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