It was this place, in those days, those years
Rivers ran blackened as night in the valley
And opened coke oven doors lit the sky red
And green fields drowned in spit black spoil
It was this place where slow hunger and poverty
Stamped down, slammed its feet on the ground.
Children starved and mouths slept empty
Soup kitchens fed families hunger thinned
This place, this place where malnutrition and disease
Looked through every door, every window
And men marched to great cities to plead
Assistance for so many in a time of great need.
Men marched the length, the breadth of the country
And met the slit cold closed eyes of indifference
She told the stories of those days those years
And when it was her time to pack, to leave
She was small, just fourteen years of age
She was a small child travelling as a stranger
In those greyed days of the great depression
Think of a child travelling from a valley
To work in a grand bankers Chelsea Mansion
She spoke of survival, the cruel vicious lips
The vindictive unsmiling eyed housekeeper
Just because she couldn’t speak words of Welsh.
She worked as a maid for a florin, a few pennies
To send back home to her family in the valley
To support her parents, her brothers, her sisters
And in that she was like so many valley children
In that time, in that place in those years.
Excerpt from long poem.