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?