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“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
- Dr. Seuss



In schooled rows, white and black

On a steep and sober hill

Above the valley of the Taff

Lie the memories cold and still

From a generation back


The children of the colliery clan

Who died while still in class

Were buried in a landslide

That took their school, Pant Glas

In the town of Aberfan.


Alone on that green hillside

A woman, unreconciled

Shines a marble headstone

As she speaks to her lost child

With tears still hard to hide.


It's a quarter of a century

Since the black slag took its toll

The miners' jobs are finished

Now they dig no more for coal

It's a double tragedy.


But the people to a man

Still keep their hearts full strong

And hide their inner sadness

With voices filled with song

In the town of Aberfan.




Mandurah WA


I always remember the pictures in the Daily Mirror when this tragedy happened.

I visited Aberfan in '93 and spoke to the lady in the poem. 




So I chatted up this Sheila

Thinking, boy, I’d like to feel ya

Sort of sittin’ warm and cosy next to me


Then a smile came on her face

She said, I know where there’s a place

Where we can get a nice, hot cup of tea


Then p’rhaps you’d like to dabble

In a quiet game of Scrabble

I’ve got a lovely set and what is more


I’d love to play the game with you

And, if you would like me to

 I’ll tell you what, I’ll even let you score


Well, the tea was quite OK

And when we settled down to play

She hit me with a seven-letter make


Now I’m not one of those chaps

Who think girls’ heads are full of gaps

But a seven-letter start is hard to take


She’d got HASHISH right away

Using a blank, I have to say

But still she started off with eighty scored


I countered then with SNORTING

Which I thought was rather sporting

We had a couple of junkies at the board


When she sneaked a triple, GIN

There was NO way I could get in

So I threw my rack and had another pick


Then she really burst my bubble

And got a double, TROUBLE

By this time I was feeling rather sick


I was prepared to let her win

Well, that wouldn’t be a sin

It’s nice to be a sport once in a while


But this girl was too darned clever

And despite my best endeavour

She had me truly beaten by a mile


Then she said, It’s time for bed

And the blood rushed to my head

Perhaps I’d get a ’word’ in after all


But I near fell through the floor

As she showed me out, I saw

Her Scrabble champion’s shield upon the wall


She said, Thanks for coming round

And the next time you’re in town

Call in, we’ll play another game


Well, of that she can be sure

And I’ll even up the score

You can bet your boots the game won’t be the same


’Cause I’ll give it all I’ve got

Just to take the winner’s pot

And then she’ll never play again, methinks


I’ll show her my prowess

But I wonder if she’ll guess

That I’m the nation’s best

At tiddly-winks.


(c)Dave Bowen


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