From the darkness into the light

VOB Chapter 60669505_2205037972882679_7826219458933817344_n

 

https://www.buzzsprout.com/178487/1990468-episode-8-from-the-darkness-into-the-light

I was very pleased to hear this reecording of my concept performance “From the darkness into the light” –  a response to trauma and the way that poetry can play an important part in healing  – my gratitude to the poets for their performances.

 

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Remembering Aberfan

candle-1700855_1280

Bitter limp fruit

 

Imagine fishermen labouring in a heavy swell,

pulling in the trawl to find silver bitter limp fruit,

entwined in the mesh of drip green nets,

and seeing the dead eyed souls of their own young children.

And we stay silent for our history is never told,

silenced from the hour, the days, and the years,

for we are edited out of the hours of our time.

 

Imagine coal miners hollowing out the seams,

men stripping coal a mile and more underground,

and the hooters above the darkness call them away,

to be brought up into blink white light to see the black tip,

the harvest of their toils washed into the village,

spewed over the school where small children,

once sang hymns and were supposed to be safe.

And we stay silent for our history is never told,

silenced from the hour, the days, and the years,

for we are edited out of the hours of our time.

 

Imagine the trail of letters, written foretelling concerns,

the dead nerved fears that a disaster would occur,

and the NCB replied, not days, not months but years later.

And on a grey fog filled October day, after weeks of rain,

a small children’s school and a day of devastation,

exactly in the manner and the way foretold.

And imagine if no one was held to account,

and those families told – make the slag heap safe yourselves,

from the proceeds raised for the disaster fund.

And we stay silent – for our history is never told,

silenced from the hours, the days, and the years,

for we are edited out of the hours of our times.

 

Imagine the miner, the father, the brother, the son,

looking out at the sprawl of waste they’d dug.

Imagine the mother, the sister, the daughter,

looking out at the grey listlessness of another day.

Of the silent keening, the numbed grieving,

of the impossibility of using words to describe.

And we stay silent for our history is never told,

silenced from the hours, the days, and the years,

for we are edited out of the hour of our times.

 

Imagine the mothers bringing up children,

the happiness and hopes for the future.

Imagine the sisters who stayed off school.

Imagine the brothers too slow and were late.

Imagine the vacuum where a life had been once.

Imagine a young life where a vacuum is now.

 

And we have been silenced, our history just words,

and our future is silent and will never be told.

Silenced from this hour, silenced from all the days and more.

Silenced from this, these years, silenced from all that could have been.

 

 

The Aberfan Tribunal found that repeated warnings about the dangerous condition of the tip had been ignored, and that colliery engineers at all levels had concentrated only on conditions underground. In one passage, the Report noted:

“We found that many witnesses … had been oblivious of what lay before their eyes. It did not enter their consciousness. They were like moles being asked about the habits of birds.”

In the House of Commons debate on the Inquiry Report it was asserted by the Government, on the advice of the NCB and supported by comments in the Tribunal report, that the remaining tips above Aberfan were not dangerous and did not warrant removal, estimated by the Tribunal to cost £3m, but merely required landscaping – a much cheaper option.

The government made a grant of £200,000 to the NCB towards the cost of removing the tips, and under “intolerable pressure” from the government, the Trustees of the Disaster Fund agreed to contribute £150,000.

No NCB staff were ever demoted, sacked or prosecuted as a consequence of the Aberfan disaster or of evidence given to the Inquiry.

 

©robcullenoctober2016

Published RedPoets2019