Picaroon Poetry – Issue #1 – March 2016

Welcome to Issue #1 of Picaroon Poetry! This issue comes with a strong CN / TW for: sexual abuse / rape (‘Fallon’; ‘[Jennifer Walks the River]’), alcoholism (‘My Mothe…

Source: Picaroon Poetry – Issue #1 – March 2016




We talked into the early hours

and as it often does time lapsed

and at times like this and these

with such warriors of the first degree

words, rhymes and craft merge

and in the darkness we looked out

on that familiar ancient town

and knew  it’s other name Caer Eden

and I told you of the Gododdin

and of Caertreth and of the fallen.

From a height on the Royal Mile

you told me that you’d watched

my eyes and you’d began to realise

that I didn’t blink and I’ve thought

about that since and found

that I blinked whenever I thought

about it and when I considered you.

We sat in the old café drinking tea

such a sad demise for a braachi

the coffee baristas from Baardi

has gone and what has been left

an exhibit polished and shined

just like your words of Caroline

that sing song way you have

of bending the blue note

the way of poets and players

of the blues and duende too.

I followed Garcia Lorca

in New Jersey and understood

the horror of Rahway

but that was then and this is now.

and I am proud to know you.

Figuring it out at 6 + 5 (Exploitation by numbers)



When I was 6 there were 10. (Translation when I was 6 years old there were 10 pits in our valley)

Now that I am 6 + 5 there are none. (Translation now that I am 65 there are none)

I say there were 10 but some relics still remained

Let’s say 4 but there may have been more

But now I am 6 + 5 there is none.

When I was 10 + 5 there were 31 (Translation when I was 15  there were 31 men killed in the Cambrian disaster)

a class room emptied and the children

of fathers dead underground gone.

A year later and the children were gone too

and an empty classroom except for 1 or 2.

Then they were gone.

When I was 10 + 6 there were 144 (Translation when I was 16 years old 116 children and 28 adults were killed in Aberfan)

then they were gone.

When I was 10 + 6 I was nearly gone

Almost drowned by my own body.

When I was 10 + 9 I was gone to another place

away from here where I could breathe.

When I was 3 + 2 I returned and there were 2 (Translation only 2 mines in the valley)

But now there are none.

When I was 3 + 5 – 1 came back again (Translation when I was 35 the Tower colliery was re-opened)

But now that 1 has gone too

And now there are none again.

Before I was born 0 there were 75 (Translation there were 75 pits in the Rhondda Valley)

Now there are none 0.


We were brought here because

of what we could take out for them.

And when that was gone we were left.

We took out what was here for others to sell

to build their big houses and then

they were gone and all that is left of them

is their collection of pictures from France

and the sprawl of the tips and heaps of course.

So we were left bye bye pictures

for us to look at and feel better,

feel inspired and aspire to better things.

But for so long we paid to get in and feel

grateful for being helped to feel better. Bye Bye.

Rivers ran black and skies spat black too

Trees died or were cut to prop up the earth.

Exploitation and devastation of an ecosystem.

Exploitation and the human wreckage left.

Thank you for leaving us so much. Bye Bye.


1801 – 542 (Translation population of the Rhondda Valley)

1861 – 3035 (Translation ditto)

1901 – 113735 (Translation ditto)

1911 – 162729 (Translation ditto)


164356 casualty of miners. (Translation this does not include non-mining casualties like infant mortality etc)


I don’t like looking back to 0 zero

I don’t like looking forward to 0 zero

I look at what’s in between

But mostly now when I am 6 + 5

Its what’s left to do that matters to me

And now what’s left? We are left. Right?